Review: Lissie: Live At Union Chapel.*

[AD/gifted: I was gifted a copy of the album, in exchange for a review.]

Last year, I was lucky enough to see Lissie live in Manchester; today marks the release of Live At Union Chapel, an album of completely recorded live tracks. As a HUGE fan, you can probably imagine how excited I was on hearing this.

I still have trouble figuring out my “genre”. I always sang and had stories that I wanted to tell. Guitar was a way to accompany myself, so being able to do my own thing & not seek out other people maybe led to being a “singer/ songwriter/ rhythm guitar player” ?
-Lissie, Mademoiselle Interview.

The track list is as follows:

  1. Bully
  2. Shameless
  3. Sun Keeps Risin’
  4. When I’m Alone
  5. They All Want You
  6. Hero
  7. Oh Mississippi
  8. Daughters
  9. Ojai
  10. Don’t you give up on me
  11. River
  12. Everywhere I Go
  13. In Sleep

To give this great artist justice in a review, I am going to go through this album track by track.
Bully opens the album, complete with the applause that an artist with a fan base can only achieve. It has a rawness to it-perfect for in concert. There’s also a little introduction with the husky speaking voice that’s so well known. I have tremendous respect for anyone who can simply stand alone, yet sing behind a guitar; this suits Bully well. The voice speaks for itself.
Next up, Shamless, the heavy rocker that goes against beauty standards as expected in an industry. (I stole your magazine/the one with the beauty queen/on the front…) It is sung remarkably well-and seemingly has far more of an edge than Bully does. Although I do prefer the rockier studio version, I would have loved to have heard far more of the audience on the second chorus. (Come on/every body sing it/I don’t want to be famous…) But that’s a great ad lib to cover a swear word.
And the bittersweet Sun Keeps Risin’. I can’t fault this track-you know it’ll be the sort of song it is, because the track starts with a sigh.
Additionally, my favourite track on this whole album: When I’m Alone, the huge single from Catchin’ A Tiger. I like that it’s now more bluesy than folk rock, more powerful than seductive, more empowering than sexualised. If this is ever to be remastered, I would love more drums, to make this more of a song with a good beat, emphasising the voice. (By that I mean, obviously Lissie’s, but because it’s soaring, this could underpin it.)
And if you want a second song to make you feel better about your recent break up/Mel iconic situation, They All Want You is the song for this. It’s the whispering voice that says everything is going to be alright, but you can give yourself permission to be sad about it now.
Hero is one for a walk in Autumn.
The Oh Mississippi ballad is what rounds this album out-balancing heavy rock songs with ballads, anger with compassion in songs. It could be a beautiful lullaby.
And Feminism also seems to be a subject covered in this concert CD. Daughters is a powerful song, uplifting and empowering; it sends shivers down my spine. What it really needs, to be complete, is clapping on the choruses-the percussion needed to complement the guitar. Seemingly, this record is about people-the ones who make and produce it, the one who sings it, those who buy the records, and those who are immortalised in the storytelling of the lyrics. It just seemed appropriate to me.

“Daughters” was inspired by Leymah Gbowee and this great documentary called “Pray The Devil Back to Hell”, which tells the story of how women in a civil war torn Liberia banded together and peacefully protested. Thousands of Christian and Muslim women came together. They were so sick of the violence and of their male children being armed and their daughters being raped, that they were no longer afraid to die.”
-Lissie, Mademoiselle Interview.

Ojai is also a huge nostalgic track.
Don’t You Give Up On Me is also a favourite track of mine. I connatate a sort of religious stance to this-the almost prayer like calls to the heavens.
River is a Joni Mitchell cover, a sort of bonus to this album. It adds a Christmas flavour. Everywhere I Go is also as stunning. And as is In Sleep.
This album is absolutely stunning; if you have a chance to see Lissie live, go ahead. Go ahead and do it. This album may not have as gritty a feeling as one of her concerts-such as with audience participation being omitted-but you will not regret it. At all.
To see more ‘Lissie’ content, click below:

Click here to buy Live At Union Chapel. And for tickets to the upcoming tour, click here.

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