Lissie – My Wild West

Lissie - My Wild WestA year ago, Lissie moved from her California home of over a decade to a farm in Iowa. It was a move that didn’t come without reflection and heartache and became the focus for her third album My Wild West.

It has a midwest feel in that it’s minimal in nearly every aspect. Where her previous records dabbled across genres, My Wild West never leans heavy in any direction, whether folk, rock, pop, country. It’s an album that in itself sounds laid back, almost unsure. There’s an uncertainty of what’s next, instead revelling in the present surroundings.

And from that is a certain purity that comes with realizing things aren’t what you hoped for. On Hollywood, Lissie sings about returning to the home she left to pursue a dream that didn’t happen, but she laments leaving with an ode to the California city she’s leaving behind on the closing track, where she sings “Ojai, I don’t wanna leave you behind/but you know that I made up my mind.”

On Wild West, she reaffirms that just because she’s leaving, it doesn’t mean she’s giving up on her dreams. When she sings “I’m going rogue in the wild, wild west,” there’s the implication that, as a musician, she isn’t following the norm by staying close to the action.

And perhaps that’s why the album doesn’t follow in the footsteps of either Catching A Tiger or Back To Forever. It is after all her first record without a major label.

Lissie is, in some ways, a representative of the generation. She’s socially aware, environmentalist and feminist, and also shows appreciation for her roots. These are themes in her music. On My Wild West, she’s re-evaluating what it means to follow your dreams and take control of them. It’s an early mid-life crisis; that point when it’s not too late to restart without feeling like you’ve lost time. That concern over missing out on the future rather than regret for losing out on the past.

But it’s more than self-evaluation. It’s action. On Go For A Walk, she sings about that moment you realize you need a change in order to “feel my life.” Don’t You Give Up On Me touches again on that need to explore alone but for the sake of self-improvement. It’s also an appreciation of life. Sun Keep Risin’ is about the inevitability that life carries on after someone close to you passes, but that despite that, they aren’t forgotten.

My Wild West is an introspective album very specific to Lissie’s own experiences. It’s not as instant as her first two releases but in some ways it’s almost more striking because of the newfound confidence and hope that gets expressed throughout. She’s taking control.
Four stars

1. My Wild West Overture
2. Hollywood
3. Wild West
4. Hero
5. Sun Keeps Risin’
6. Don’t You Give Up On Me
7. Stay
8. Daughters
9. Together Or Apart
10. Shroud
11. Go For A Walk
12. Ojai

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