Artist: LISA LAMBE
Album Title: ‘Juniper’
UK Release Date: 11 September 2020
Label: Blue Élan Records
In Ireland, Lisa Lambe is a household name. Described as a “national treasure”, the Dublin-born actress-singer-songwriter has notched up pages worth of column inches and media appearances and garnered a huge following across the Emerald Isle and in the US, yet remains relatively unknown to UK audiences. Until now.
Lisa’s sound encompasses a broad church of roots-influenced music from alt-folk to Americana with country-blues leanings. Her ridiculously gorgeous voice – both soulfully sweet and warm yet powerful – lands somewhere between the sultry rasp of Stevie Nicks, Natalie Merchant’s rock timbre, and Alison Krauss angelic, bluegrass tones. But aside from the voice – described by the Irish Times as “pure gold” – it’s her masterful songwriting and knack for a fit-for-radio earworm tune, that sets her above the rest.
Juniper is Lisa Lambe’s sophomore album and first for the US label, Blue Élan Records. It follows her self- produced, self-released 2015 debut, Hiding Away, recorded in Nashville and rooted in the city’s ‘Nashville sound’. Juniper however, is a much more ‘homely’ affair and a giant leap forward.
Written in Connemara along Ireland’s windswept and isolated western edges during a time of (self-imposed) isolation, Lisa describes the album as “a love letter to nature”. The entire album was recorded live in one room. In contrast to Lisa’s debut that included only two originals, all of the eleven songs on Jupiter are self-penned. One of the many stand-out tracks is Hunter’s Moon, a light blues number with a singalong chorus that points back to the vibe of Fleetwood Mac’s catalogue. Someone Like You is a slow-burn groove, flecked with acoustic guitar and clear-eyed melodies a la Kacey Musgraves or Joni Mitchell; the mid-tempo Tiny Devotions captures the immediate and rare joy of musicians playing together, while the broody opening, whirling guitars and insistent groove of Dust and Sand gives way to Lisa at her most seductive. The title track Juniper, which Lambe says was “sparked by a boldly gnarled juniper tree I spotted on an isolated bog road” is an atmospheric ballad with gauzy harmonies and the low hum of a minor-key organ that paints an aural portrait of Ireland at its most wild and haunted. Lambe’s songwriting, although inspired by the Irish landscape and surroundings is thoroughly universal, modern and international.
Lisa Lambe’s creative and artistic talents deserve a wider audience, and with Juniper, the possibilities are endless. Beautifully crafted and strikingly evocative, it showcases not just an outstanding singer and songwriter but a superlative musician about to be discovered and adored by UK audiences too.
“The purpose of the project was to capture the lightning of making music,” she says. “I’m a live-in-the-moment artist and whether in the studio or onstage, I have to ground myself in the moment, feel what I’m receiving from the songwriting, and give something back to serve the song. With this recording, there was a huge desire in me to find the tribe of musicians and listeners to go on a completely new journey with me”