SING OUT! Magazine
Off the Beaten Track - (Summer 2006 - Vol. 50 #2)
Eliza Lynn Frisky or Fair
One of my biggest thrills as a radio host and CD reviewer for a couple of publications is that all-too-rare discovery of a great album by an artist I'd never before heard. Such and artist and record is Eliza Lynn's Frisky or Fair, an all-original set of winning songs variously rooted in old styles of jazz, old-time Appalachian music, blues and country that flow seamlessly from one to the other unified by Lynn's effortless vocals. The mostly-acoustic arrangements feature some fine playing by varying combinations of Lynn's musical friends from around the Asheville, NC area. Lynn's own banjo playing - which is very good - is featured on four of the songs, including one that is completely solo.
The album begins with "Not 10 Miles," a piece of advice about giving up a futile search. The song has an infectious swing arrangement highlighted by some delightful muted cornet playing by Dale Roberts. Lynn develops the lyrical theme of the opener a couple of songs later with "Tunnel." This is one of the songs featuring Lynn's banjo playing in a haunting minor-key arrangement that sounds like an old folk song.
Other highlights on the CD include the title track, a blues song featuring Lynn's voice gliding on top of an arrangement highlighted by Jill Fromewick's harmonica playing and "You go round corners," which pairs Lynn's singing accompanied only by Joe Mohar's rhythmic tap dancing. That number is a perfect lead-in to "Sing a new song," an upbeat bluesy piece about the joy of singing on which she's ably supported by Bob Willoughby's piano playing, Grant Cuthbertson on bass and drummer Teal Brown.
Eliza Lynn is a young artist that I'm definitely looking forward to hearing more from the years to come.