Local Singer-Songwriter Brian Lisik Unplugs for New Album

click to enlarge Local Singer-Songwriter Brian Lisik Unplugs for New Album
Courtesy of Michael J. Media Group
Local singer-songwriter Brian Lisik, a guy known for his “guitar-driven power pop and pensive neo-folk,” returns this week with a (mostly) acoustic album, Gudbye Stoopid Whirled. He'll play a virtual release party at 8 p.m. on Thursday. 

Recorded at songwriting partner Steve Norgrove’s Bass Mint Studio and mixed by producer Don Dixon (REM, Counting Crows, Smithereens, Gin Blossoms, Kim Carnes, Mathew Sweet), the album features unique acoustic instruments such as “lap drums,” “mouth trumpet” “heavy metal banjo,” “F# minor guitar (to fix Brian’s screw up).”

“Steve [Norgrove] and I trusted our co-producer to know enough to stay out of the way of the songs,” says Lisik in a press release about the album. “But we were still starry-eyed kids in his presence. I’ve known Don [Dixon] for probably 20 years, but had never mustered the guts to ask him to work on a record. I feared he would laugh at us when he heard the recordings.”

“On his new record, Brian has captured the essence of a classic rock album while maintaining all the ragged glory of a home recording,” adds Dixon. “His voice may seem like the main attraction at first, but the songs will get inside your head and stay there.”

In spite of its sparse arrangements, Whirled features rich musical textures in songs such as the dense modern rock number "(Erebus Goes) Overbored."

The songs take on some heavy topics too as Lisik addresses issues of female empowerment (“Looking for You”), infidelity and sex-as-self-medication (“(Erebus Goes) Overbored” and “Midship”), addiction and suicide (“Death of a Broken Heart”), self-aggrandizement and fleeting celebrity in the social media age (“Junior High School”) and the "circuslike atmosphere of the media in modern American politics" (“Dont-Ray-Me”).

Last year, Lisik disbanded his longtime backing group, the Unfortunates, and says he "kind of hid out" for a period.

“The threat of creeping irrelevancy haunted me,” he says. “But these songs started to inform me that, in the end, we’re all pretty irrelevant — which I thought that was a very relevant realization.”

The lyrics and "darkly stark instrumentation" also take on a much more immediate and sinister quality given the state of the world.

“The album was titled months before the pandemic; it was not intended at all to be prophetic,” Lisik says. “Though [Don] Dixon did jokingly call me a 'seer.'”

Gudbye Stoopid Whirled follows 2017’s We’re Sorry…, an album that hit the national Americana Music Association and FMQB charts on the strength of the singles “Feudal Nights” and “Colorado Avenue.”

Over the course of his career, Lisik has shared bills with artists including Tim Easton, Waylon Payne, Wade Bowen, Ass Ponys, Jesse Malin, Chris Knight, Tommy Womack, Nicole Atkins, Patrick Sweany, Two Cow Garage, the Chamber Strings, Eddie Money and Roger McGuinn.

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About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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