Notes on local music
by Hunter Pope
Eliza Lynn, Frisky or Fair (Civility Records): Four Stars
• Genre(s): Singer/songwriter with elements of jazz, old time and western swing.
• You'll like it if: You're comfortable with metro jazz and rural Appalachia residing on the same album.
• Defining song: "Slow Down" – Soulful to the point of tasting collards, this sparse number asks listeners to disregard the hasty life. However, the rapid desire to hit repeat will overwhelm.
I usually fear an album that hits me from the get-go. Past experiences with songs that impress immediately end up being like a piece of gum with a two-minute flavor time. Luckily, Eliza Lynn's debut album, "Frisky or Fair", remained gratifying despite chronic listens. From the second the album starts, Lynn's voice takes control. The first cut, "Not 10 Miles," recalls the sort of '30s hipcat jazz that thrived in Harlem. By the time the third song – the traditional "Tunnel" – begins, it's apparent that Lynn's voice has more range than the Andes. She also plays banjo on some of the tunes, her silky voice melding beautifully with the instrument's huskiness.
Produced independently, "Frisky or Fair" housed 13 musicians who helped Lynn bring her music to light. Guests include old time sage John Hermann, members of Toubab Krewe, and Freight Hoppers alum Rayna Gellert.