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LISA RICHARDS – WAITING TO FLY (INDEPENDENT)

NOVEMBER 9, 2022 CD REVIEWS, NEWS, REVIEWS

Review by Chris Lambie

Lisa Richards’ seventh album was aptly named I Got A Story. Her biography – both personal and professional – reads like a ready-made film script. This follow-up takes the story to a glorious place of evolving contentment.  Waiting To Fly (aka WTF) is a magnificent showcase of wise words, uplifting musicality and Richards’ captivating voice. She splashes fresh colours on inviting folk/roots melodies. 

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LISA AIMS FOR NEW HIGHS WITH HER LATEST ALBUM

BY HELEN MUSA

DEFYING gravity is a byword for singer songwriter Lisa Richards. Not only is “Waiting to Fly” the title of her eighth album, borne out of repeated lockdowns and isolation, but her launch later this month will be a musical celebration of “taking flight” with her own songs and stories.

But defying gravity also has a darker side for Richards who, speaking of her youthful years of addiction to anything she could lay her hands on, says: “I had never had any dreams, or hopes, or goals except to get high and stay high until I died.”

If you listen to Richards’ voice, you’ll never forget it. Described by critics as “both ferocious and sweet”, it has a strange mixture of thinness and depth. When I catch up with her, I ask how she views it.

Canberra artist Lisa Richards set to soar with new album

by Jessica Cordwell

November 21, 2022

Waiting for a better day, more pay, to lose weight or our next date, we all seem to be waiting for something. However, in her new album, Waiting to Fly, Lisa Richards encourages us all to stop putting things off and make the leap. She will be officially launching the record at The Street Theatre on Saturday 26 November. 

“It’s all of those things that I told myself I couldn’t do. You’ll never be able to sing, or you’ll never be able to produce yourself, or record your own album, that has turned out to be not true. So, I think the idea is, that it’s time to fly,” she says. 

I GOT A STORY

Lisa Richards is an Australian powerhouse singer/songwriter you may not have heard of, but if there is justice, her latest single ‘Little Bird’ will rectify that.” 

John Moyle 

Sydney Sentinel

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JAZZ/FOLK

 

A Light from the Other Side

Lisa Richards

Lisa Richards’s voice is delightfully unusual. At first it is jarring, piercing against the otherwise dulcet jazz, folk and bluesy feel emanating from her music, but slowly the timbre reveals its delicate duplicity. On the one hand Richards sounds like a sweet young girl who is trying to find her place in the world. On the other, she sounds commanding and confident. It makes for truly stimulating listening. Originally from far north Queensland, Richards spent 22 years in Austin and New York, released five albums and even received singing lessons from Mariah Carey’s mother, opera singer Patricia Hickey. Now she has returned to Australia to release her sixth studio album. A Light from the Other Side is a revelation, inspired by the breakdown of her 14-year marriage. Recorded in country Victoria with composer and producer Greg J. Walker (Paul Kelly, CW Stoneking), the album is a bittersweet mixture of optimism and anguish. The songs contain sensitive lyrics (“There’s a broken heart in every chest, there’s always one more reason to regret”), soothing melodies and a range of instrumentation. Even though they form a tightly woven narrative, each song is also strong on its own. Opener Frank Sinatra includes sharp mandolin strums and heaving brass elements that pulse to a tango rhythm. Milk and Honey could be the theme to a detective show, a sleuthing tune that resonates with plucked bass, fragile drums and crisp violins. Summer Afternoon is reflective, humming with violin sighs and delicate piano, whereas Where My Heart Used to Be is strident country-folk complete with banjo. Friends Out of Strangers is an uplifting final note about the kindness of strangers. Richards is a simple yet powerful songwriter who has beautifully encapsulated the intricacies of the human condition.

Emily Ritchie
The Australian

Lisa Richards Returns To Her Roots With Luminous New Album A Light From The Other Side: Rhythms Magazine

It’s been a long journey for Townsville-via-the US singer/songwriter Lisa Richards. She has enough stories to last a lifetime but has compiled the most compelling into her sixth studio album ‘A Light From The Other Side’.

What emerged from these sessions was an album that is as diverse as it is personal. From stories about her teenage step kids to rediscovering her life in Australia the only thing that stays consistent is the heartfelt emotion instilled in Richard’s fiercely unique voice.

A powerful story is invaluable to successful song writing and this is none more evident than in ‘A Light From the Other Side’. Within its confines lies heartfelt emotion combined with exemplary musicianship which creates a truly stunning piece of narrative art. READ COMPLETE ARTICLE ONLINE

“Lisa Richards’ fifth release is an absolutely riveting piece. Her lyrics are well crafted and insightful, allowing you to dive inside her thoughts and envision everything she has. Exploring a variety of subject angles throughout this collection, Richards stellar second track in particular titled What Love Looks, is a beautifully soft outsiders perspective of love. Other notable songs include the sultry and slightly funky title track, Beating of The Sun, and the very moving Holocaust-inspired fourth track First Sin. Take a dive into this album, it’s well worth it! (CD)”     Chelsea Deeley    www.altmedia.net.au 

"Each song defining and bold enough to stand on its own, together tell a touching story of loss, grief, and growth. Breathtakingly beautiful, the album is a joy to listen to, and Richards a pleasure to journey with."  Hannah Teape Davis  tone-deaf.com.au 

"This is a really good album, original, thoughtful and very beautiful – a grower, if ever there was one." 

 John Davy   No Depression 

"Lisa Richards is an artist in full command of her voice and carriage, a performer working in service of the tune to communicate deeper truth. Beating of the Sun is a groovy, wistful, sensitive, smart record and Richards is an extraordinary talent. Jordan Richardson Somethingelsereviews 

"Blessed with a strikingly girlish, yet strong and compelling voice, a fine eye for telling minute details, and an equally sturdy grasp of harmonic country-flavored folk-pop, singer/songwriter Lisa Richards carves out her own touching and fascinating corner of the musical universe on her latest album. There’s an astounding individuality not only to Richards’ uniquely sweet and tremulous vocals, but also in her concise and thoughtful songwriting. The trudging tempos and relaxed, yet steady beats give the music a downright magnetic pull. However, it’s the way Richards addresses life’s most testing hardships in a brave and direct manner that makes this extraordinary album so poignant and resonant."   Jerseybeat 

"Texan-based, Queensland (Australia) born and one time New York resident Lisa Richards combines numerous hues to her singer-songwriter base. As folk, jazz, country and mystic pop are entwined —like honeysuckle on the vine they are entangled. Richard’s articulate artful writing coupled with her singing ability, she is after all a voice teacher to ride alongside and on top of the instruments used makes her a hypnotic to the point seductive. Her creativeness ensures the album is never less than interesting. Her wistful, whimsical tones peek on the pop jazz inclined ‘The Painful Game’, ‘Beating Of The Sun’ and ‘Open’ plus the National steel guitar warmed ‘Every Star’. Richards’ link to jazz and such stylists as Billie Holliday and those of an older generation can also be heard on ‘First Sin’." http://flyinshoes.ning.com

Mad Mad Love Reviewed on Penny Black Music Reviewed by: Malcolm Carter 

"Australian Lisa Richards (now based in Austin, Texas) has chosen no less than four different producers to record this, her fourth CD. That so many different producers are involved could have been a disaster. The album could have been all over the place but thankfully Tim Bright, who produces the bulk of the album, along with Craig Reed, Billy Masters and Jeff May have all captured the beauty in Lisa’s vocals and the album actually benefits from having more than one producer. Billy Masters captures a different Lisa than Tim Bright for example. 

Lisa wrote or co-wrote with Tim Bright ten of the twelve songs here. The two covers are ‘Rags And Old Iron’ and ‘Satellite Of Love’ the Lou Reed song. Now Lisa, it must be said, has one of those voices you are either going to love or hate. It’s practically impossible to compare her to any other female singer which is no bad thing; to have such a unique vocal style is rare these days. By turns sweet and tough we can hear many female singers in her vocals but just can’t pin it down to anyone in particular. Lisa sings like Lisa Richards. It’s as simple as that. 

For some reason I can’t explain I expected Lisa to have folk leanings and while the odd song or two could be slotted loosely into that genre, much like her vocals finding a pigeonhole for the music Lisa makes is not easy. There are jazz, blues, country and pop flavourings to these songs and Lisa flits from one to the other with ease. It’s going to take a better man than this to nail this singer to any genre. 

The opening song, ‘Bloom’ is a summery slice of pop with a soulful edge due to Lisa’s expressive vocals and it’s probably this song more than any other on this album that will divide those who love or loathe Lisa’s vocals. For me it shows that here is a singer who is like no other, who is making her own way and who has one of the most distinctive voices in music today. 

In some ways it was an obvious choice to cover Reed’s ‘Satellite Of Love., One of his prettiest songs is given an even more delicate reading in Lisa’s hands and if one song here shows her vocal skills then it is this cover. She really does make a beautiful version of this song. And while we are on the subject of cover versions then ‘Rags And Old Iron’ which is probably best known by the Nina Simone version shows another side to Lisa’s vocal prowess, so much so that it could almost be another singer; this time all the delicate beauty in those vocals is replaced by a bluesy swagger. With a brilliant production and stunning guitar work by Tim Bright this really is a highlight of the album and one can’t help but wonder how a singer can change her style of singing with such ease and get away with it. 

But Lisa shows that she can also write the blues herself as the following song, ‘Daddy Please’ again produced by Bright follows in the same vein as ‘Rags And Old Iron’. The song after that, ‘Portrait Of A Lover’, another Lisa composition produced by Billy Masters, shows Lisa adapting a more laid-back jazz style. The most amazing thing about this album, apart from those stunning, unique vocals is that Lisa never makes the same song twice; she straddles so many different genres and takes on, and wins, so many vocal challenges that it is truly breathtaking that one singer/songwriter can cover so much ground over twelve songs. 

Lisa Richards is a major talent of that there is no doubt and with ‘Mad Mad Love’ she has proven that in 2007 there are few who even come close to her vocally."