by Andrew Sacher
Lianne Smith @ The Living Room - 4/6/2012 (photo by Simon Egleton via Lianne's site)
Lianne Smith is an individualist. She does things her way - even if it means taking ten years or more to put out an album. Long considered to be one of New York's most important songwriters, she personifies the definition of cult artist. She'll play the occasional Bowery Ballroom gig and owns a rabid fan base who've followed her since her days as the Brooklyn dark Americana rock girl "most likely to get signed" in the late 90s. But that coincided with the sea change where the big record labels started to drop off the map - and the fact that Smith never courted fame in the first place. Since then, she's teased her fan base with home recordings on the web; one suspects that there are many prized live shows of hers kicking around as well. That it would take her this long to make her debut album, Two Sides of a River, turns out to be worth it: it's the best rock record of 2012 so far by a country mile. [New York Music Daily]The above review is of Brooklyn folk singer Lianne Smith's 2012 debut album, Two Sides of A River, which as it points out, came out over a decade after she was first discovered. In that time, she's also been a regular at the Loser's Lounge shows, whose leader Joe McGinty (ex-Psychedelic Furs), appears on her album. The album also features contributions from a number of other notable guests, including guitarist Tony Scherr (Lounge Lizards) who was a regular at the now-closed Living Room, where Lianne played her record release show in 2012 (pictured above), drummer Anton Fier (Feelies, Golden Pallaminos, Pere Ubu, Bob Mould, etc), saxist Doug Wieselman (Antony and the Johnsons), trumpeter CJ Camerieri (yMusic), background vocals from Nada Surf singer Matthew Caws, Nada Surf/Crooked Fingers/etc collaborator Lara Meyerratken, and others. Musically, the album feels indebted to the cult folk singers of the late '60s and early '70s, and the whole thing can be streamed below.
Lianne will be teaming up with an excellent and likeminded lineup for a show in Brooklyn on January 25 at E Gallery (459 Vanderbilt Ave). That lineup includes '70s/'80s-era cult folk singer Kath Bloom, who has been fairly active as of late, in addition to Ember Schrag. The show starts at 9 PM and admission is $10 at the door.
UPDATE: Kath Bloom also plays another NYC show on March 19 at Manhattan Inn with Linda Draper, rescheduled from January 2.
Music from Kath, Lianne and Ember, below...
Lianne Smith - Two Sides Of A River
Kath Bloom - "It's So Hard" (1982)
Ember Schrag - "Sutherland" Official Video (2012)