An unequivocal success that balances subtlety & tact...impressive talent & imagi
Guitarist and singer Liz Meyer’s fifth solo album includes the stellar cast of superior musicians Bela Fleck, Ron Block, Mark Johnson, Jerry Douglas, Rob Ickes, Emmylou Harris, Mark Cosgrove, Sam Bush, Glen Duncan, Stuart Duncan, Shad Cobb, Byron House, Kenny Malone and Chris Brown. Meyer wrote all songs except the traditional “Katy Hill.” Born in Germany, Meyer is an American who is married to Dutch mandolinist Pieter Groenveld and who has lived in Holland since 1985. She’s been very involved with the European bluegrass scene, and months before its release, this album was in the Top Ten of the Euro Americana Radio Chart. All lyrics are included in the CD jacket.
Liz’s songs have been recorded by such artists as Del McCoury, Mike Auldridge, Emmylou Harris, and Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum. Liz’s association with Emmylou goes back to the early 1970s when they roomed together in the D.C. area. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, Liz kept touring, underwent alternative treatments, and managed to beat the cancer. Liz attributes music with giving her the motivation and determination to keep going. “The Storm” is dedicated to the people who saved her life when the Storm was at its darkest. In her poignant closer, “Running Out of Time,” she says she wants kindness, love and to feel alive. Movies where they tell someone they have a few months to live had made a big impression on Liz as a child. Rather than write a song like “My Favorite Things” with a list of all the things you want to do while you still have time, she tried to find the most painfully poignant way to express these feelings--wanting to have a lover and feel passion one last time.
On the surface, simple companionship is her desire in “Save Me From Myself,” but this personal song is also intensely about passion. Happily married for many years, she doesn’t always write autobiographical songs. Those would probably be rather boring, and Meyer recognizes that a good song requires good drama, and any good drama requires conflict. Her intent is now to fulfill her purpose on the planet, writing and singing her songs in the self-described fashion of “bluegrass and folk that rocks!”
“Blue Lonesome Wind” sets a plaintive stage for this album’s intriguing soundscape of reflection. A favorite cut is an up-tempo “The Only Wind That Blows” which has a certain comforting warmth despite its chilly message rendered in 3-part harmony. Rising winds, raging skiies, and trembling winds continue the theme in “The Storm,” with its exploration of a tempestuous relationship. Liz Meyer’s songs illustrate recurring self-examination of inner conflict and desire for unrequited love, trust and faithfulness. A common bluegrass theme of a nostalgic longing for home is captured in the joyous “My Favorite Time of the Year.” Most of Liz’s choruses are arranged for duets, with guitarist Mark Cosgrove also providing the harmony. A few of the songs (“Trust Me,” “Untamed,” and “Keep Your Heart Away From Me” for example) could have been enhanced with a soaring third vocal harmony in the mix. Other songs, like “Save Me From Myself,” are remarkably powerful as duets. High-octane guitar, fiddle and mandolin are front and center on the album’s one breathtaking and fun instrumental, “Katy Hill.”
Liz Meyer’s artistry demonstrates impressive talent and imagination. Balancing subtlety and tact, “The Storm” is an unequivocal success. Executed with great skill, Liz Meyer’s “The Storm” allows her to open up to us and convey a personal side full of optimistic meditations. There’s no commiseration, suffering or dark despair in her music. The power of Meyer’s songs lies in their strength and resilience. I’ve heard that her cancer is back, and we can only hope that her music brings her more solace and success. Purchasing this CD will help her cover treatment costs. You can also read more about Liz and “The Storm” in the July, 2005 issue of Bluegrass Now magazine. (Joe Ross)