Thursday, March 12, 2009


Last Monday night’s Colbert Report introduced me to a singer/songwriter I wasn’t aware of when I made my recent list of favorite new female singers and singer/songwriters. If I had been she’d be on it.

After I wrote that list I discovered Neko Case, and now Lisa Hannigan and I’m beginning to feel really positive about the future (and maybe about a future list). These women are original and bright and creating music that is playfully deep and deeply playful.

I already wrote about Case, but Hannigan is even more of a delight to discover because her music—both the melodies and lyrics—is so simple yet so intricate, so rooted and yet so light and litlting, it makes me smile in appreciation.

Her appearance on Steven Colbert’s show was like a shot of sunshine in the midst of all the recent gloom and doom. Just what the doctor ordered.

She sang a song she’s obviously been doing for awhile (there are several performances of it on youTube including one in a Dublin venue that’s closer to what she did on Colbert, but my favorite is this one from last year in a pub in Dingle, she isn’t playing the squeezebox keyboard thingee she is on the Dublin and Colbert gigs, but she’s still totally charming and smile inducing). It’s called “I Don’t Know”—one of those tunes you feel like you’ve been humming for years already.

This music feels to me like the kind of upbeat—without being superficial or “pop”-y—soundtrack that appeared during the Great Depression and at the height of WWII and in the midst of civil unrest and the struggle for civil rights and ending the war in the 1960s and probably other seemingly bleak times. As though the muses decided the world needed to sing—or at least hum—its way back to some high spirits.

Just in time.


AlamedaTom said...

Nice call. I'm familiar with Hannigan from her vocal work in accompanying Damien Rice. If you haven't heard his stuff, especially the tracks with Hannigan, you should check him out too. A great Rice tune is "The Blower's Daughter," which was the theme song of the movie "Closer."

Lally said...

Thanks man. I know Damien Rice's music a little and had read she backed him on some stuff but either hadn't heard it or didn't remember it when I saw her on Colbert and couldn't stop smiling.