CD Review | Lizanne Knott – Excellent Day
Album | Excellent Day
Artist | Lizanne Knott
Label | Proper Music
Singer/songwriter Lizanne Knott found the inspiration for her fourth studio album during a period of reflection which followed the unexpected death three years ago of her long-time friend and guitarist Jef Lee Johnson. Their shared love of American ‘roots music’ – infused in Country, Blues and Folk – is the connecting thread in this wonderful 12 song collection. It includes ‘Excellent Day’, the Johnson-penned title track; ‘Sometimes’ a beautiful ballad by Janis Ian (a fan) who gave Lizanne exclusive rights to record it; a mellow-blues interpretation of Gershwin’s ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’ and a wistful version of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Stolen Car’, the other tracks are Lizanne’s own compositions.
The album opens with ‘Come For The Kill’, a superlative piece of Americana-noir featuring the evocative drumbeat of Erik Johnson; ‘Why You Wanna Break My Heart’ is a mournful country torch song enhanced by Ken Prendergast on Upright Bass; ‘Goodbye’ is a beautiful melancholic heart-break number featuring Brian Ashley Jones on guitar and Josh Lawrence on muted trumpet.
The roots influences are diverse – ‘Not This Time’ (co-written by Bill Reveles) has a feel of New Orleans soul, while ‘Lay My Burden Down’ takes us to Gospel Blues territory, and is augmented by the banjo playing of none other than Steve Martin.
‘Someday Love’ is a feel-good, gently defiant song of hope and is a counterpoint to the rueful lament ‘Tennessee’. The musicianship on ‘Rainbow Crow’ is a sublime fusion and creates a sound that perfectly enhances Lizanne’s knowing vocals.
This is an exceptional album by an artist who is becoming revered on both sides of the Atlantic. Championed in the UK by Bob Harris on BBC Radio 2, she is building a rapidly growing fan-base over here, who will be looking forward to her all-too-brief tour in Scotland this June (details here).