Lisa Crawley is a songwriter, singer and multi instrumentalist from Auckland who is releasing her new single What Would I Give on February 15. Here are five albums she is loving right now…or… more of a ‘five albums she really needs to listen to in order to pay the rent’ both as a session keyboardist and a wedding singer. Some she loves more, some have grown on her, and some she’s ruined for herself…
1 – Split Enz, History Never Repeats: I was involved in a performance called White Cloud in Wellington last year, written by Ken Duncum and Tim Finn. Following the show Tim asked me to play keyboards in a few shows of his own material – a combination of Split Enz, Crowded House and his solo albums. This has been a large amount of homework for me; listening out for Eddie Rayner’s complex keyboard parts whilst frantically scribbling down any notes I can decipher on manuscript. I’ve really enjoyed listening to the songs, and as a result of this discovering more on the band’s fascinating history out of actual interest rather than being in sixth form and being made to write essays on the song structure of I Hope I Never. Miss Prince from Avondale College would be proud.
2 – The National, The Virginia EP: I’m playing the song Slow Show by The National at a wedding in a few weeks. It’s originally from the album Boxer (2007), however I’ve been listening to the version on the Virgina EP (2008) because I can hear the words easier. I’ve always liked The National, I love this song’s melodies and chord changes, but thought I should check with the groom about singing the line “Can I get a minute of not being nervous and not thinking of my dick” . It’s not your typical wedding love song but I read a bit more about the song meaning and can relate to it more than I realised – (the nervous thing, not the having a dick thing). The singer Matt Berninger talks about the song’s meaning:
“That one’s actually kind of literal, wanting to get out of some anxiety-filled public situation, where there’s a party of something and you just want to escape and be home, close the doors with someone that you really care about and just be stupid and laugh. Forgetting about social pretenses and how you have to act in public, you can just be a fool with this person, you know, ugly and awkward and silly and they won’t judge you.”
3 – The song ‘Thank You’ by Led Zeppelin covered by Pearl Jam: It’s wedding season! I’ve got five weddings I’m playing at in the next two months. Again, this is not a whole album I’ve been listening to, but a friend has asked me to play Thank You for their wedding’s first dance. It’s originally by Led Zeppelin, but I’ve been given a Pearl Jam version. As it’s just me on the piano and singing, I’m unsure whether to try and impersonate Eddie Vedder, Robert Plant or how to perform the piano equivalent of the epic guitar solo at the end, what words are being sung in the recording, whether melodic groans will suffice, and what kind of first-dance moves will be put to my lounge-esque Pearl Jam Interpretation. Watch this space and wish me luck.
4 – Demos I’m transcribing for an upcoming new musical written by a New Zealand Songwriter: I end up (and enjoy) doing a variety of musical ‘jobs’. This is the first time I get to listen to a very highly regarded NZ songwriter sing and record all the characters and songs for a new musical they are writing (think Spike Milligan’s Bad Jelly). The music is pretty great, I’m transcribing 24 songs in a few weeks, so as you can imagine this is going to be high on my listening rotation. No doubt my cat Misty will know all the words soon enough.
5 – Kings of Convenience, Riot On An Empty Street: I’ve always enjoyed the music of Kings of Convenience. I hadn’t listened to the Norwegian duo’s recordings much over the last few years but was reminded of how good they are after hearing them play at this year’s Laneway Festival. They were first on and performed as a duo to an attentive and appreciative audience. Two-thirds into the set they got their full band on which was comprised of very enthusiastic Italian jazz musicians who were a treat to listen and watch. After chatting to some of the members after the show it was great to learn how unpretentious they are in person as well as coming across genuine onstage. The unusual, beautiful harmonies are probably my favourite thing about this record and came across really well live too.