RIP CAT RECORDS RIC 11112
WHAT GOOD AM I–FIRE IN THE SKY–LOST YOU–GOOD BYE BABY–FIRE–MY TURN–I’LL TAKE YOU THERE–RIGHT MAN–STOP TRYING–BRIGHT SHINY WORLD–COLD HEARTED WOMAN–EVIL MIND–WHITE RABBIT–ALREADY FREE
Lisa Cee has been a fixture on the SoCal roots and blues scene for some time, gaining notoriety as the leader of the house band in the Gibson and Fender Guitar Lodge during the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. During her live shows, she’s always playing to a crowd and getting everyone involved, but, on her Rip Cat debut, “My Turn,” Lisa explores a softer, much deeper side, with nine originals and five covers. She’s got a vocal delivery that has that perfect amount of sexy sass that lets you know that this young lady is the real deal, too.
She kicks things off with a soulfully-strutting read of “What Good Am I without you,’ while Johnny Mastro blows the reeds outta his chromatic on the original “Right Man.” Lisa also gives a jazzy, acoustic spin to a soul classic, the Staples’ “I’ll Take You There,” and turns in perhaps her best vocal performance on a quirky arrangement of Grace Slick’s “White Rabbit,” where Ron Dziubla’s sax lines replace the guitar leads, as Lisa builds to that familiar vocal-crescendo climax.
It was Lisa’s originals that stood out for us, tho. A funky sax and chicken-scratch guitar defines the danceable groove of “Fire,’ while Scott Abeyta adds slide guitar over the acoustic roots-blues of the title cut. “Cold Hearted Woman” rocks out over a second-line rhythm pattern, while perhaps the set’s most powerful cut is “Lost You.” Its brooding, dirge-like arrangement adds to Lisa’s poignant vocals dealing with the death of a loved one, leaving her “Crying in the dark/I’ve lost my only spark.”
The common thread of every band on the Rip Cat roster is the fact that Scott Abeyta encourages their creativity over everything else. And, Lisa’s powerful singing and insightful songcrafting make it possible for different listeners to interpret her different songs in their own ways, making each song easily able to stand on its own merits. This was a refreshing listen, indeed! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.