BY MARK GUARINO Daily Herald Music Critic
the past few months, I've enjoyed listening to some recent releases
from Chicago bands. Here's a look at the best.
Lisa Derosia & Lush Budgett, "Yesterday is Gone"
gets a lot of press for alternative country, but the welcome alternative
to that alternative is the purely bittersweet country of Lisa Derosia.
Her band Lush Budgett's second album is no winking update of country
music traditions. She instead embraces the music's lonesome poetry
and warm spirit, matching it with tuneful melodies and tasteful
what are mostly co-writes with guitarist Greg Schultz, the songs
range from swing ("Ballad of Buck and Sheri"), roots pop
("Yesterday is Gone") and luxurious ballads ("Wake
Up Baby"). Derosia's high, expressive voice lets in the desolation
of her lyrics, some with a taste for the gothic. "The moon
reflects with just one purpose/in any city you can spy/in it the
faces of countless martyrs/who died so lovers can cry," she
sings ("Whispering Wind"). The many players here never
fail to paint layers of color so when things cool down, they inevitably
turn a corner to pick up steam.
Like the rural
scenes depicted on the cover of its self-titled CD, Lush Budgett's
music is hushed, rustic and rooted firmly in the Midwest tradition.
Not edgy enough to be called insurgent nor commercial enough for
mainstream, the disc's country-tinged love songs are fueled by Lisa
DeRosia's unique vocals and Greg Schultz's impressive guitar and
pedal steel work. Particularly strong cuts include the mournful
"Northwest" and the bitter "This Town." Produced
by Lou Whitney and Lush Budgett, the sound is appropriately warm
and of high quality.
There are many
appealing qualities to this disc: solid songwriting, tasteful arrangements,
strong musicianship. Whether or not it's enough to raise DeRosia
and Schultz above the recent crop of urban twangers remains to be
seen, but they're off to a good start.
For over 20
years, the American Songwriter Amateur Lyric Contest has helped
thousands of songwriters become involved in our community. Established
in 1984, America Songwriter magazine sponsors six contests per year
that run in conjunction with each issue published. Entrants should
send lyric sheet only, no cassettes or musical direction. The winning
lyric, along with four runners-up and ten honorable mentions from
each contest, will be published in the issue of American Songwriter
that follows the deadline of each contest. The writer(s) of the
winning lyric for each contest receives a DX1 Martin GuitarTM (valued
at $669). One guitar per contest will be awarded. The bi-monthly
winner will also receive a package of D'Addario and Planet Wave
products, including a year's supply of acoustic guitar strings and
accessories. Don't miss the opportunity to see your work in print!
The annual winner, chosen from the six contest winners, will receive
round trip airfare for two to Nashville on American Airlines and
a master production demo from Music City Music Productions, Inc.,
valued at over $1500.
Written by Lisa DeRosia