My Wild West is the latest album by folk artist Lissie and the first one under her own label. “It was such a kind of happy accident and I think I like reverse-pyschologyed myself because I essentially decided to take a break from music and I bought a farm in Iowa,” said Lissie. But boy am I happy that happy accident occurred.
The album is soaring and empowering with cutting lyrics, in what is likely to be her most heartfelt work to date. Her sincere, untouched voice paired with the organic sounding guitar will haunt you. Just as the story of Leymah Gbowee —who began a movement of women peacefully protesting the 13-year civil war in Liberia—haunted Lissie as she wrote the song "Daughters.” This was the most compelling track with a drum beat that will make you want to stand up and peace march along. The simple, yet rambunctious song is a call to arms for all women to ban together and take care of one another.
“It’s not really a story you hear about a lot, but how incredible is that? That just like a group of women saying that we’ve had enough and we’re going to peacefully unite and say no, we’re not going to do this is just like incredible," said Lissie when talking about Pray the Devil Back to Hell, a documentary about Gbowee and the Liberian women she led in protest.
Lissie describes her writing process as empowering and natural, sometimes she can’t get the lyrics out fast enough. “I got so caught up in and just felt sort of empowered saying we need to talk about this. We need to get women to stand up and recognize all the ways we are being held down and have been for centuries.”
While “Daughters” is the most directly feminist track, My Wild West weaves in tones of justice and equality throughout, much like the brassy tones occasionally weave into the light, acoustic guitar. In her music and in her life, Lissie incorporates an all-inclusive feminism.
“I think that you say sometimes in feminism, it’s implied that there are some anti-male sentiments. Which I think is absolutely wrong. I think you know to be a feminist is also the celebrate men because I think that there’s a sense that we want to be partners, we want to be equals,” said Lissie. “We have different strengths and weaknesses generally and together we can solve the world’s problems.”
Some of her tracks are co-written, but My Wild West has the most tracks written by Lissie— and most were recorded live. "I did a lot of co-writing and you know hired producers to make my albums for me but this last album probably was the most natural experience I’ve ever had. Because instead of their being like a budget and schedule and a timeline and deadline, I went into this album not even 100 percent sure I was even making an album. It was like 'well I’ll just write and record songs and see what happens,'" said Lissie. "A lot of the songs on My Wild West were very spontaneous, a lot of the songs had been recently written."
From “My Wild West Overture” to the quietly melancholy, yet hopeful acoustic guitar-heavy closing track, “Ojia,” the album is an MOR folk, accidental-album that feels like an auditory diary written by a woman who is ready to move into a new phase in life. The ending song “Ojia” is a soaring, bare bones acoustic ballad that feels so much like the painful goodbye you have to make before you can reach your new hello— a flawless ending to a poignant, honest album.
Watch the video for "Daughters" below.
My Wild West is available now.
Image via Facebook/ Lissie
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