My favorite review of Somewhere Deep in Texas is from a blog called:
search for the last of the hard-core troubadours
Good ol’ country girl
It’s the very end of October and I’m sitting outside on the porch in just jeans and a tank top. I love Tennessee.
I’ve been thinking a lot about country music lately. Given time, money and opportunity I’d think about little else, but as it stands I take the chance to dwell on it whenever I can. I’d like this site to be all country music, all the time. It’s not hard I think, as the genre is so very broad now with all the unnamable, indescribable subgenres under Americana, honky-tonk, bluegrass, old time, folk-country etc. but still we are lacking in real country. The modern music that inherits all the older genres. The music I wish pop country had become instead of slightly twangy easy-listening music or the joke it is.
Lisa Hayes is one of the inheritors, I believe, of that kind of country. [The good kind, that is—Daisy] You can hear the influence of honky-tonk, of old cowboy music, of rock n’ roll, even of the fiddle that brings reminiscence of old hills music. Her first release, Sweet Forgiveness, has long been in my continuous playlist. Lisa knocked my socks off more than a year ago when I caught her by accident at Billy Block’s Western Beat. She has amazing stage presence and her songs caught me in their net, a perfect reflection of how I was feeling at the time I got a copy of Sweet Forgiveness. “Right Now,” “Sweet Forgiveness,” “Ghosts,” and “Are You Still Mine?” all speak of a sense of loss, though not just your traditional, “sad my man’s gone” kind of loss. The album as a whole is about change, shifting dynamics, letting go and knowing even when you hurt that you’re searching for something more. There’s pain, loss and suffering in the songs, like one wants from some country music, but behind it in Lisa’s songs there’s hope, a chance at redemption and a feeling that perhaps you could climb out of this dark hole of a country song and find light just around the next corner.
Lisa’s latest release, Somewhere Deep in Texas, has the same true country feeling though the vibe has changed. It’s like she’s keyed right into where I am emotionally and is putting out albums just for me. The twang here is a little more honky-tonk, the album has a sense of longing and darkness under it, but overall it’s a little lighter, more fun. Like whatever man broke her heart in Sweet Forgiveness has finally been put aside and there’s a new cowboy on the horizon, but she’s still unsure if she’s ready to try again. The songs aren’t love songs so much as tales told about the sort of love we all hope is out there.
“I Can’t Find You” is exactly as the title would have you think, about traveling through life, looking for the other half, that specific person you’ve felt you’ve been missing, but are sure must exist. The arrangement is contemporary, clean, back with enough twang (banjo!) to keep your toes tapping through wistful longing of the lyrics.
The opposite side of searching for someone is in “Find Me.” It’s not asking for the mysterious lover to seek you as well, rather it’s more about looking for your real self before setting off into that journey looking for someone to balance you out. Lisa sings of finding yourself weak, finding that you are a stranger to yourself and how hard it is to realize that sometimes you have to admit the mistakes you’ve made before you can find your way back to yourself. The fiddle here isn’t the painful moan of old country songs, it’s lighter, you can hear the Celtic behind it, like it might lead you into a new fairyland to find yourself, rather than drawing you into old eastern hills full of sorrow.
There’s a redemptive love in “Any Fool Could See” that uplifts entirely from the misery of “Little Black Cloud” which comes right before it on the album. “Cloud” is like the last well of darkness you sit in before you give up on a bad love affair and move on. “Fool” does border on sappy, but any regular readers know I thrive on that. Where the fiddle can be lonely misery, here it picks the accordion’s upbeat and sends the listener cheerfully walking down the road of past mistakes into the new arms of love right along with Lisa.
“She Drives” bites into me with “but hey if she just keeps going she just might believe again.” The song doesn’t feel like running away so much as hoping to run toward something. When I first learned to drive and bought my own car, I would get in it every day and think, “I can go anywhere I want, do anything I want.” Sure I was going to the gas station for smokes, but I knew if I wanted to I could go sit by the ocean or head to the desert. It was absolute freedom. This sad song has the girl driving along the lonesome highway and even the sun doesn’t cheer up the road as she drives away from nothingness. It is one of the saddest songs on the album, but still completely full of that sense of freedom, of change of the possibility of anything for me.
The album closes out with the title track, “Somewhere Deep in Texas” bringing together the theme I felt all though the album. She sings, “It’s my story of love my story of loss/my tale of too much but somehow never enough.” She finds the way to mend that in the green grass growing in Texas, finding freedom from her past. Love the sentiment, love the song. Dobro brings home the Texas feeling of the whole song.
You can buy both albums at CDBaby, and you should totally check her out.