Primary Instrument: Vocal
Lissy Walker is a jazz singer, but her wide-ranging musical interests set her apart from your average chanteuse. She’s been an actress and singer for most of her life and brings a dramatic sensibility to her jazz vocals. Walker's burnished vocals have a hint of restrained passion that suggest country music, but her phrasing, which dances before and after the beat, is pure jazz.Her low-key approach is folky at times, but raw emotion lurks just beneath the surface, adding an alluring tension to her performances.The material is an eclectic mix of songs by Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, Randy Newman, Ray Davies, and Nick Drake.
I tend toward happy melodies with sad lyrics or vice versa, tunes that look at both sides of the coin. Several songs deal with mortality, or the ache of a broken heart, but the underlying theme of the album is redemption. How love affects our ability to embrace life and acknowledge the limitations of existence, and that beauty can be found in melancholy...the idea that a broken heart is better than no heart at all.”
Walker produced Life Is Sweet with bassist Jon Evans (Tori Amos, Spencer Day). The arrangements are by Walker and pianist John R. Burr. Drummer Scott Amendola (Madeleine Peyroux) and Grammy nominated guitarist Scott Nygaard complete the basic quartet. Cellist Philip Worman, organ player Julie Wolf (Ani Di Franco), trumpeter Steven Bernstein (Rufus Wainwright,Sexmob), and Dave Ellis on sax added discreet overdubs.
The result is a quiet classic, with the musicians placing their restrained virtuosity in the service of Walker's subtle vocals to deliver an album that keeps revealing its emotional and musical intensity with repeated listenings.
Sweet indeed. Jazz songstress Lissy Walker has a distinctly sweet voice, with some impressive technical chops. Kirsty Evans, East Bay Express
...Life Is Sweet (is) an eclectic riff on the vocal jazz tradition that finds Walker wrapping her sassy, playful voice around standard and not-so-standard tunes.. David Becker, The Examiner
... Walker has a voice that brings out the subtle nuances of the songs she sings,with jazzy arrangements that are flavored with folk, pop, and country music. j. poet, East bay Express