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Perky folk chick full of potential

The Academy

> BY CHRIS WASSER

That Elisabeth "Lissie" Maurus actually expected to see a rainbow upon her return to good old I-are-land yesterday afternoon is more than enough to suggest that some Americans (or at least their impressions of the Emerald Isle) will never change.

Ah to be sure, says I, pour another pint o' the black stuff and I'll tell ya how I once came across the pot o' gold at the end ... you know yourself.

But enough about that rubbish -- what we're really here to see on a cold, post-Picnic Tuesday night in the capital is yet another rootsy US folk rock act attempt to convince us that their signing with a major label and having some songs featured on daytime radio will somehow lead to the big time.

And for 28-year-old Lissie from Rock Island, Illinois, that could so very easily happen. That is, as soon as she figures out what exactly she wants to be.

Is she a singer-songwriter?

Well, cut out the bearded players around her, and yeah, I suppose you could call her that; albeit one whose perky nature doesn't nearly match the often heart-wrenching lyrical content of her songs.

For example, a devastatingly effective cover of Hank Williams' Wedding Bells ... yep, this girl sure can tug at our emotions.

But what about her own tunes, eh? And wait just a moment; those guitars are getting louder and -- dare I say it -- a little more complex on every number.



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Now she sounds like she's auditioning for a Thin Lizzy (wahey!) tribute act.

Is she a ... rock star?

From the sounds of it, she certainly wants to be, but, honestly, it doesn't really suit her all that well.

Sure, she's got both the voice and the charisma, but those Stevie Nicks comparisons that we've all been hearing about just don't quite add up.

You have to hand it to her, though -- it may not be remotely original, but there's enough going on, with plenty of sing-along choruses and a whole bunch of "woah-oh" breakdowns to keep an eager audience on their toes, and, for the most part, the music ain't all that bad, either.

So there you have it, then; American folk chick lost inside the body of an American folk chick gone pop. Next week -- Irish troubadour sings about a broken heart ...


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