It has to do with generosity. What makes Alisa's songs stand apart is her own sense and gift of generosity.
- Robin Roberts, The Open Road,
KUSP, Santa Cruz, CA
Alisa Fineman grew up in California's San Fernando Valley, born to a family rich in musical heritage. Her great grandfather played first trumpet with the New York Philharmonic under the legendary Toscanini. Her grandmother, a concert pianist, gave Alisa her first piano lessons. At the age of eleven Alisa began learning guitar, and a year later she was writing her first songs. Early inspirations, both musically and lyrically, include Joni Mitchell, Odetta, Willa Cather, Kate Wolf and Mary McCaslin. As with these artists, Alisa's repetoire of songs speak of love, of a sense of place and an appreciation for the earth's beauty and fragility, and of life's sometimes-difficult choices.
While studying Environmental Studies and Natural History at the Univeristy of California at Santa Cruz, Alisa spent her summers as a fire lookout in the wilderness of Idaho's Salmon National Forest, and after graduation she moved to Big Sur to help manage the University of California Big Creek Nature Rreserve. During this period of her life, while living in almost complete seclusion, she began writing the songs which in 1988 would Cup Of Kindness, her first recording.
Fineman's resonant voice gives her songs a depth of feeling
and experience that the lyrics only hint at.
- Santa Cruz Sentinel
The enthusiastic response to Cup Of Kindness motivated Alisa to devote herself more fully to writing and performing. Her growing connection with the music community soon led her to become host to a radio show on KAZU in Pacific Grove, CA which showcased fellow singer/songwriters from around the country. She was voted "Best Folk Musician" four years running by Monterey Bay's Coast Weekly and in 1991 she won top honors at the Kerrville Folk Festival's NewFolk Showcase for her songs, One Lone Bird and I Could Not Ask For More, both of which were included on her 1993 release, Better With Time.
Alisa's concerts are like Babette's Feast. She gives herself completely.
- Lyn Golliher, Learning Center, NYC
"Alisa is easily among the best of the next generation of singer-songwriters."
- Tom Paxton
Since then, Alisa has toured extensively, appearing at such festivals as California's Strawberry Festival, the Napa Valley Festival and the Kate Wolf Memorial Festival, Austin's South-By-Southwest, The Kerrville Folk Festival, The Connecticut Family Folk Festival, and Spokane's Columbia River Festival. She has performed at the National Songwriter's Academy showcase atThe Troubadour in Los Angeles and in the Treestar Concert Series in New York. In 1992 and '93 she was Artist-In-Residence at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY. In addition to her solo work and work with her partner and fellow-musician Kimball Hurd, she is also a former member of guitarist Martin Simpson's highly acclaimed Band Of Angels, and a frequent guest-artist at performances by Trapezoid founder Paul Reisler.
Warmth, beauty, fresh themes, vivid-word pictures. Alisa is a class act.
- Rod Kennedy, founder, Kerrville Folk Festival