Equally brassy and forgiving, Lise is the type of attractive woman you’d find sitting to your right at some San Francisco saloon with a massive mahogany bar, where Kerouac would beckon his muse. She’s open and real and willing to ponder the topics that we all ponder. Life’s mountains and valleys. Love lost and found. Sex great and regretted. The wisest poems. The truest songs. And after a few drinks and more laughs, she’d push back from the bar and say, “Well, I have to go now.“ Not to the exit. But a small corner stage with her guitar where her angelic voice would strike sharp contrast to the gritty girl who was keeping pace with short bourbons. And at once, you find yourself enamored.
Lise is indeed laced with grace’s her honeyed voice and haunting lyrics, her honesty and praise of others. And mostly, her desire to have a visceral relationship with life, not simply ride along in the backseat. Separating Lise from her music isn’t a reality, because her pulse is actually found beating in her songs. Her thoughts and fears and dreams come alive on stage and in recording studios.
Born in Houston, she seems at first Lone Star to the core. One of the boys at times, willing to climb a tree barefoot and drink Mexican beer until dawn. Wear jeans and a T. Cuss in interviews. But then again, she’s not at all. She’s cosmopolitan and well’straveled. She thoughtful and introspective. Her music career has spanned band tours and solo performances and unscheduled jam sessions.
Laced is the lightest and happiest of her albums to date, but don’t let that deceive you into thinking there aren’t deeper currents at play. Her CD, produced by veteran Mark Hallman of Austin, reads, “We are laced into our DNA, environment, families of origin, friends and lovers, all of mankind, the unfathomable mystery of being. Life is both a conscious and unconscious lacing of the heart and mind to people, places, rituals, philosophies, and objects. Even when we believe we are consciously undoing the laces, even severing them, there are knots that will withstand not only our singular will, but also eternity. And what we perceive as “good“ is always laced with what we perceive as “bad.” Beauty is laced with pain. Our pain is laced with grace.
Therein lies the delicious dichotomy of Laced…both beautiful, loving and connected, with slivers of pain cutting and coursing throughout. Moments of warm seduction balanced by the ache of mean-spirited love and past disgraces.
Lise works tirelessly at her music and her original lyrics. A graduate of the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s in English, and a Minor in History, is it any wonder her lyrics are somewhere between sung poetry and lyrical paths to our pasts. She’s played SXSW, venues across the country, Australia and dozens of quiet, dark, moody wine bars.
Her debut album “White Heart,“ released in 1999, had sixteen songs. She threw it all out there like pyroclastic embers from a volcano that had finally been uncorked. Unlike most who struggle to find even eight tracks for a first album, Lise couldn’t slow it down, or turn it off.
Her follow-up album, “Lovers’ Moon,“ was released in 2002. Produced by John Egan and backup vocals by Mando Saenz, Lovers’ Moon showed a true progression, both lyrically and melodically. A soothing, cerebral album, Lise takes you on a tour of lovers slipping away, redemption, November skies – subtle songs that awaken you to yourself.
Her third album, “In the Wake,“ produced in 2004 in Brisbane, Australia by Mike Flanders, set out on a new musical path. The experience down under moved her. A world away, and away from her world, Lise held up in a small motel, living on potato chips and wine and made the most of Mike’s prolific, contagious, Aussie energy. She wrote. Performed. And recorded, often seven days a week. And she soaked up a culture of bravado, gusto and a love of music.“ The result – an album that grips and nurtures.
Encapsulating anyone accurately is an act of futility. But sometimes, those we love help mirror us. In this world and by that test, Lise loves KD Lang. KD’s passion, artistry, courage, humanity and, of course, her singular voice.
Maybe that’s why Lise sings from a place of soulful, raw, purity. Her songs aren’t over-produced, commercialized or candy–wrapped for shelves. She evolves without straying. She explores without getting lost. She exposes without melodrama. But what seems to be the truest description: she follows the longing passions of her heart – always beautiful, pained and laced with grace.