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Lisa Cerbone


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, We Were All Together (2008)

See also:

Lisa Cerbone's site

Lisa Cerbone's facebook page

Comparisons:

Joni Mitchell meets the Cocteau Twins. (Eric Jensen—zoe@clark.net—keep your eyes open for Eric's work all over Lisa's album)

eric said "joni mitchell meets the cocteau twins," but i think that's misleading. i think a better comparison is the innocence mission or others in that vein (the sundays, the cranberries). that's not quite right...but it should give you a start on what her music sounds like. (woj@smoe.org)

Covers/own material:

own material

General comments:

Lisa's music is not quite folk and not quite mainstream pop. The songs are snapshots of your neighbors' lives, and maybe their neighbors' too. (Or maybe yours, but I hope not since the songs tend to be a bit depressing.) Her short story background definitely shows through in this collection of songs. I was a little slow to warm to these from a tape I got, but after a few live shows and picking up the cd(s), they wormed their way into my subconcious, emerging pretty regularly. Mercy is a huge leap forward. Both discs have strong songwriting, but the singing, arranging and production on Mercy is dramatically better. I highly recommend Mercy to everyone, and Close Your Eyes to people who'd like more. (Also a very nice live experience.) (neal)

Good songwriting, alternapop sound, babyish voice. Amazing growth between albums. While I was fairly lukewarm about Lisa Cerbone—it just seemed a little thin and while the lyrics were good, musically it didn't seem anything terribly special—I adore Mercy. A wonderful, rich album in every way. (Neile)

Totally unfamiliar with her work, I bought her Close Your Eyes disc based solely on an Ecto recommendation and as usual was not disappointed. Seeing her live solidified my appreciation of her. (jjh969@juno.com)

Comments about live performance:

She really is great live. (jjhanson@att.net)

Recommended first album:

Mercy

Recordings:


Lisa Cerbone

Release info:

1993—Sudden Place Records—SPD 1301

Availability:

Replaced by Ichiban release, Close Your Eyes. Can be found used in the U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended for those who like alternative pop. Belly fans may especially enjoy this. Lisa Cerbone's songwriting and voice are fairly similar to Tanya Donelly's, though the sound is a little more acoustic-based. (this was an unattributed quote)

Group members:

Lisa Cerbone—vocals, keyboards, electric guitar, percussion, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Ron Campbell, Chris Salamone—drums
Gary Mosca, Steve Carr, Eric Jensen—bass
Tim Camp, Darrel Petterson, Steve Carr—keyboards
Steve Carr, Eric Jensen, Brad Marcus—electric guitar
Willem Elzevir—violin
Ron Campbell, Steve Carr—percussion
Eric Jensen—acoustic guitar

Produced by:

Steve Carr, Eric Jensen, and Lisa Cerbone

Comments:

while i like the album well-enough, it doesn't wow me. i'm pretty neutral on the album, though i've listened to it many times. it's pleasant enough when playing, but doesn't infiltrate the brain. (woj@smoe.org)

I've found that over the months, listening to the album and seeing Lisa live, the music has infiltrated my brain, and it occasionally comes bubbling up unexpectedly. It's a subtle album, and it took me a while to warm to its pleasures. I'm not a lyrics person, and it wasn't till I sat down one day and actually read them that the songs fully opened up to me. Prior to that, they were snippetsin my head, along with the occasional hummable melody. (neal)

This was another album that required time to sink in for me. I didn't pay it much attention when I got it, but it has gradually grown on me more and more. (Neile)


Close Your Eyes

Release info:

1994—Ichiban—24853

Availability:

Widely available in the U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended for lovers of alternapop. (Neile)

Group members:

Lisa Cerbone—guitars, vocals, keyboard, percussion
Frank Amato—keyboard
Tim Camp—keyboard
Ron Campbell—drums, percussion
Steve Carr—guitar, bass
Willem Elzevir—violin
Eric Jensen—guitar, bass
Brad Marcus—guitar
Edd Miller—drums, percussion
Gary Mosca—bass
Jimmy O'Neill—guitar
Daryl Patterson—keyboard
Chris Salamone—drums

Comments:

it's had a heap of additional recording done to it and been remixed. Not that it sounds bad, just that the original version was fine. It doesn't hinder the songs, though (ok, well "Amber" loses its appeal a bit with so much going on). (ahoran@ozemail.com.au)

I've listened to each version many times, and the differences seem pretty minimal to me. Some extra layering on the newer one, but I only noticed it in a few places. It had a slightly warmer sound, making it more immediately appealing. I tend to listen to either one without really noticing which is which. (neal)

the arrangements on the new release are more textural than the original, and her voice is very prominent in the mix. lisa produced the original cd pretty much by her lonesome from the years 1990 to 1993, paying for studio time on a teacher's salary! the songs are personal and honest because lisa never really thought anyone would hear them, so she didn't exactly censor herself. (zoe@clark.net)

the music is surprisingly perky with respect to much of the subject matter. for some reason it reminds me of Lush, but with discernible lyrics (and I love Lush when I'm in certain moods). By listening to her, I thought, "she *must* write her own songs!" and sure 'nuff, when I looked at the liner notes, she does! (rholmes@cs.stanford.edu)

Close Your Eyes voice-wise reminds me of my old friends, the Jehova Waitresses. (Matt.Bittner)


"Blue Frog" (single)

Release info:

1994—Ichiban International—DPRO-24855-2

Availability:

Radio station promo

Comments:

This contains two versions of "Blue Frog" and one of "Close Your Eyes." Both songs are on the Close Your Eyes disc. There is a radio edit of "Blue Frog" that amusingly reduces the phrase "God damn reality" to "(pause) damn reality". (neal)

Mercy

Release info:

1997—Ichiban International—dz 24890

Availability:

Widely available in the U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended for lovers of alternapop. (Neile)

Group members:

Lisa Cerbone—vocals, guitars, percussion, backward vocal

Guest artists:

Eric Jensen—guitar, percussion
Dave Vergauwen—guitars, backing vocals, percussion, backward guitar
Gary Mosca—bass, percussion
Frank Young—drums, percussion
Edd Miller—backing vocal, percussion, moog
Beth Vennerstrom—backing vocal
Frank Amato—mellotron, percussion, string arrangement, keys
Hailey Miller-fetral heartbeat Jimmy O'Neill—acoustic guitar, bass, moog
Danny Chauncey—piano + color
Dave Webb—upright and bowed bass
Tom Grose—organ
Don Conoscenti—recorder

Produced by:

Edd Miller

Comments:

I think anyone who enjoyed the first album will be pleasantly surprised at how strong Mercy is. Many of these songs are stronger than the best of the first album. It has the same type of songwriting...very detailed story songs that paint little vignettes, but the music seems bolder and more layered. The simpler arrangements have been fleshed out to something more evocative and denser, but not cluttered. The music on the first album seemed more like background, while this music fully compliments and expands on the story-songs. My two new favorites are "Watching You Drown" and "Only Good Thoughts", a very moving song inspired by the opening scenes of Mississipi Burning. The songs kind of sneak up on you. It's the sort of music that I find nice on first listen, but only on repeated listens and reads does it really start to sink in (or endless live shows). There are some studio oddities, like backwards guitar, flute on one song, and a punchier sound on the song "Sorry" than anything on the first album. This one just keeps going and going—while I enjoyed the first album, the growth evident on this one is remarkable. (neal)

This was one of the first records I got this year, and it remains one of my favourites. It's a lovely record that I recommend without any hesitation to every Ectophile. Lovely voice, great songwriting, arrangements that are rich but not overwhelming. This music doesn't grab one's attention by brute force, but rather asks for it politely and quietly, in an understated kind of way. Yet it fully deserves your attention and if you are prepared to give it you'll find yourself richly rewarded. I give it 10 out of 10! (afries@zip.com.au)

Wow, this is a wonderful album. The more I listen to it the more the songs get into my head. While I found her first album nice enough to keep and play every once in a while, this album really caught my ears. The songs show a wonderful maturity (sadly a little unusual in pop music) and her style is so much richer in this album. Great pop music—catchy but not thin. Enough sonically and lyrically to listen to for a long time. I highly recommend it. (Neile)

I've been listening to Mercy and liking it a lot—much better than I liked the first album Close Your Eyes. The first album took a long time to grow on me and never really caught. The new one has some really great songs that immediately captured my attention. I also finally figured out who Lisa's voice reminds me of—the lead singer of the Cranes, who I don't particularly care for. Lisa, however, is much more intelligible in her pronounciations. (jjhanson@att.net)

Both discs are excellent; however, I truly "dig" mercy. An excellent disc—highly recommended. (Matt.Bittner)


Ordinary Days

Release info:

2003—Little Scrubby Music (P.O. Box 797, Mt. Airy, MD 21771, USA)—LSM 014

Availability:

See website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Lisa Cerbone

Guest artists:

Mark Kozelek, Tim Mooney, Geoff Stanfield

Produced by:

Mark Kozelek

Comments:

This is an intimate, rainy-day feeling album: a little melancholy, a little stark, but warm of heart. This is the first time she has really reminded me so strongly of the Innocence Mission, I think because now she's doing their current mellow Low-like kind of music. Overall, this might be would be just a little too mellow for me except for the wonderful individual songs here: "Sweep Your Hair From Your Eyes" especially is heartbreaking, and "Araby" is simply beautiful. And as always there are Lisa Cerbone's wonderful, evocative lyrics throughout. (Neile)

Quite tasty. (neal)


Further info:

Email littlescrubby@adelphia.net.

Lisa Cerbone also contributes to Chambers—Night and Day, a compilation of Baltimore bands recorded at the now defunct Chambers. Lisa has a live version of "Amber" here. The studio version of the song can be found on both versions of her first album. (neal)


Thanks to Neal Copperman and Eric Jensen for their work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2016-05-22 20:28:27.
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