Lili McGovern,
A Bare Calliope
(One-Eyed Turtle, 2003)

A Bare Calliope is the first solo effort by singer-songwriter/rhythm guitarist Lili McGovern. I am not sure of her origins, but it appears that she currently resides in Alaska. Out of 14 tracks on the CD, she wrote 13. The music style is mostly folk-rock.

Lili's first effort is not necessarily bad, but there is not much to rave about, either.

There is only one song I really like and that would be "The Mountain," written by Dave Carter. It is true that I might be slightly biased because this is the only track on which you can hear the violin (my favorite instrument). Lili and back-up vocalist Will Johnson harmonize rather well together. Too bad they didn't sing together on some of the other tracks. I wonder if I would listen to those tracks many times in a row like I do this one.

The majority of songs blur together. Lili has a limited vocal range. When she wanders outside that range, I tend to tune out. I've actually had a hard time listening to the entire CD in one sitting. I am not making a connection. Note that I am not saying the CD is terrible. It really isn't. I just feel there is nothing here to distinguish it from all the other CDs out there trying to part you from your hard-earned dollars.

You won't find A Bare Calliope for sale at, but you can check out Lili's website if you are interested. She has a few songs you can sample. Perhaps you will connect more with her work than I have. I found it interesting to note that she was on a compilation CD set called Seasons of the Witch (which is for sale at I've wondered if that means Lili is a practicing Wiccan? Being known as "The Singing Witch" could be her niche!

Backing Lili on A Bare Calliope is Stu Schulman (sequencing, pedal steel, Hawaiian guitar, bass, tic-tac bass, electric sitar, acoustic and electric guitars, shakes, glockenspiel, keyboard, Hammond organ, dishtrap, hand bells and music boxes), Sonny Derin (harmonica), Randy Stevens (back-up vocals), Shawn Zuke (back-up vocals and flute), Kaz Johnson (alto sax), Heather Adrian (violin) and Will Johnson (back-up vocals and acoustic guitar).

Lili McGovern seems to have a personal mantra of "No Regrets." I admire her for feeling that way. Hopefully that means she will see so-so reviews such as this one as an invitation to improve and expand her art instead of as a personal attack. While I do not relate to most of A Bare Calliope, I do like the one song. Perhaps one of Lili's future CDs will speak to me a little more.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 22 May 2004

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