Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Album of the Week(ish) Sooner by Liz Frame and the Kickers

Liz Frame and the Kickers deliver that authentic, rootsy Americana sound that we love so much. Sounding a bit like Gram Parsons meets Cowboy Junkies, Liz and the Kickers (Liz Frame: vocals and guitar,Kristine Malpica: percussion and vocals,Lynne Taylor: bass and vocals,Chuck Melchin: guitars, mandolin and vocals) create an earthy, soothing sound that rocks the body and soul like a swimging hammock on a warm June afternoon. Their new album, Sooner, is packed with irresistable licks and insightful lyrics. Liz and company set the tone with the first song, Win. Liz sings "Johnny's just a junkie with a monkey on his back...He's gonna fight every last demon that brought him down - and he's gonna win." Right away they let you know their take on life, which they elaborate on throughout the album: life isn't always fair, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it all depends on the timing. This is especially true when it comes to love. In Girl Of Little Faith, Liz sings "when I leave I don't look back." But in Come Back To Me she yearns for her lover's return. Apparently he arrives too late as in the song Sooner, Liz sings "you should've come to me sooner than today, back when I would have done just about anything to make you stay." The toll of love's near misses makes Liz feel like "The Devil Put A Bullseye On My Back" in the song of the same name. She wails that "he ain't ever gonna be happy till I'm broken as a girl can be." Yet despite the pain, Liz is (and indeed all of us are) somehow drawn back to love like the junkie is drawn back to his addiction in the album's first song. After love's ups and downs in the previous songs, Liz still feels compelled to sing in, I Wanna Be Your Baby, that "I wanna be the blood running through your veins, I wanna be the joy that you can't contain... I wanna be your baby." Liz makes you feel the depth of her lyrics with her emotional and sensual vocals. The Kickers provide subtle yet gorgeous background harmonies. And the gentle wailing of steel guitars adds further resonance to the music's impact. A wonderful album from start to finish. They only way they could have made it better would have been to release it "Sooner."

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