Rock Island, Illinois native Lissie has written with Ed Harcourt, opened for Lenny Kravitz, covered Kid Cudi, and been remixed by DeadMau5, so is it any wonder that she seems at first blush like a singing, strumming identity crisis? Her debut album, Catching A Tiger, is probably a bit wispy for lovers of country grit, sorta jaunty for fans of traditional folk, and too pop to be the blues. She’s as prone to moments of Lilith Fair lilt and cheer (“Record Collector”) as she is to bouts of unbound guitar shredding (“In Sleep”). On the unshakeable single “Little Lovin’,” she dabbles in Dolly Parton territory, while with “Stranger,” she stashes the twang in her shirt pocket to climb the old Wall Of Sound. But the portrait painted by the slowed-down late-album haunter “Everywhere I Go” and the country-radio-ready “Cuckoo” is hardly the image of an amateur. No, Lissie knows what she’s doing. Ultimately, her album represents an admirable stab at the mainstream by an indie artist who isn’t afraid to dabble in the dark arts of classic songwriting, instrumental ability, and professional production. She catches the tiger here, but only just by its toe, leaving room for a firmer grasp once she and those sugar-sweet pipes of hers find their true path.
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