Lizzie West & the White Buffalo,
I Pledge Allegiance to Myself
(Appleseed, 2006)

Lizzie West sings the songs of life. As such they are filled with love, jealousy, fun and sometimes sadness. There is a realism about her lyrics and delivery that reminds me of the best of the late 20th-century urban folk movement, when people sang of experience without artifice.

"Rope Me In & Smoke Me" is the wonderfully titled and upbeat song of a young lady looking for love -- or something approximating it. The title track is a wonderful quirky rendition of that most American of songs "America the Beautiful." I find echoes of Melanie and of Buffy Saint-Marie in her singing rendition. Her "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Woman" is a beautifully simple song well executed.

Perhaps the strongest song on offer in content and delivery is "19 Miles to Baghdad." Reminding us of earlier wars she quotes "tie a yellow ribbon around something." "Of Course My Love" is another intriguing offering.

The love songs abound on this album but there is a beautiful freshness to them on tracks like "Brooklyn Bound" and "Looking for Leonard Cohen Part 1."

Not all the tracks come from her pen but even when she sings the words of another writer you feel the sentiments are coming from her heart regardless of the lyrics' origins. I dare you not to be moved by Lizzie singing "City of New Orleans." I always associated this with Willie Nelson, but now the ladies have an iconic singer of an iconic song.

The album ends with another of her own compositions called "They Won't Bury Us Till We Die," and it is a strong and lovely song.

Lizzie West is a force to be reckoned with as both writer and performer. Check her out. Check out the wonderful insert booklet, too, with its fascinating photographs.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Nicky Rossiter

10 November 2007

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