Lisa Marie Claire’s New Collection “Dawn” 

Lisa Marie Claire’s new collection Dawn captivates me. The eleven songs on this release are within an established tradition, singer/songwriter, but she isn’t content essaying them with an acoustic guitar and her voice. Dawn’s tracks gain inestimable luster from full band arrangements, and she utilizes dynamics in her songwriting that further elevates key songs. It is a deeply personal release. However, it is never so personal that her introspective musing is inaccessible for everyday listeners. Claire writes about firsthand experiences in such a way that anyone can understand and relate to her journey without having to make an imaginative leap. These are intensely human songs capable of connecting to anyone living today.

Her voice is the main attraction for me. I’ve heard this sort of vocalist many times before, a female singer with an airy voice light as a feather. There are deeper emotional levels powering her art, however. The will-o-whisp aspects of her voice never prevent her from enveloping each song with dramatic phrasing. “Redwood Wrecks” starts things off with ample evidence for that. The arrangement is, likewise, rather masterful. The song accumulates its effects on listeners rather than showing its hand from the outset. Judging by running time alone, it’s one of the album’s centerpiece tracks and an excellent pick for the opening number.

The meditative and sometimes scathing “Cloudy Mornings” is one of the album’s finest performances. She directs any ire present in the lyrics toward herself rather than an external foe and her remorseless self-judgement left me reeling a little. Her observational powers are strong, and she finds the lyrical phrasing to take her measure. Piano and keyboards drive this song and many others on the release, but there’s a smattering of guitar that gives it added bite.

“There’s Always Suicide” is another peak moment. Listeners expecting a withering lyric will not be disappointed as Claire unloads again with stunning poetic conviction. It’s a forlorn and cynical song, obviously the product of a shattering experience, but there’s dark humor present in the track as well. Her penchant for potent vocal melodies softens the song’s blows. “Second Spring” is a song about heartbreak with a point of view unlike any you’ll hear from similar fare. The vocal melody sweetens the abject despair of the lyrics and the song’s minor key strings and she latches onto a low-key yet effective groove.

Her country influences rise to the surface at a couple of points during Dawn. Pedal steel guitar makes an impact earlier in the album and returns for a final time during the ninth track “After Dark”. It’s impossible to deny, however, the strong folk singer influence layered through this track. The synthesis of these presumably disparate styles mixes together to create an unique hybrid all her own. I can say without reservation that no one sound like Lisa Marie Claire. “All the Stars” brings down the final curtain. She saved a great track, however, for her exit, stage left, and it boasts some of the album’s finest writing. Lisa Marie Claire’s Dawn has something for everyone appreciative of heart-rendering music. 

Jennifer Munoz

RJ Frometa
Author: RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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