LISSA SCHNECKENBURGER – Song (Footprint Records FR2008)

I just knew I was going to love this album from the strains of the opening track “The Fair Maid By The Sea Shore” set to a fast waltz which builds from the driving (although not intrusive) rhythm guitar of Keith Murphy and Lissa’s commanding vocal. Gradually joined by other musicians including Stefan Amidon (percussion) Jeremiah McLane (accordion) Corey DiMario (double bass) and special guest Sharon Shannon also on accordion this ballad of a sea captain beguiled by the charms of a fair damsel is a great start to the recording. In a well-balanced programme that features Schneckenburger’s warm vocals throughout, the beauty of the melodies/lyrics shines through without being forced as is so often the case in other band’s interpretations of traditional ballads. Reading the sleeve notes Lissa has taken a lot of time and effort in piecing together songs from her native Maine, New England territory and, if they’re all as good as those represented here she will undoubtedly acquire an extensive repertoire to see her well into the future. On the second track set to a tune not dissimilar to The Lakes Of Pontchartrain, “Jam On Gerry’s Rock/Willie’s” establishes more links with the dangers encountered by the sometime treacherous coastline even if the buoyant tune belies the serious events of the story. On an album littered with gems it is a testament to the protagonist (and her fellow musicians) that to this journalist at least I can safely say that there isn’t a duff track and that we in the ‘folk’ world should embrace and endorse talent that makes a real statement.

PETE FYFE

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Artist’s website: www.lissafiddle.com