Lisa Bastoni had been a regular in the greater Boston music scene for a while before she took a 10-year break to raise a family and pursue a different career—but she’s back—and busier than ever with her music! I saw Lisa back when she was part of the Grey Sky Girls with Naomi Sommers and have fond memories of their performances. Lisa’s re-entry into the world of music was fueled by many new songs and a burning desire to sing them. Fans have responded wildly to Lisa’s passion and she has received a number of accolades for her recording and live performances since her return.
Lisa will be participating in a special tribute show at the me&thee coffeehouse in Marblehead, MA on February 22, 2019. Breaking Barriers: Tribute to the Women Who Paved the Way features Lisa, Danielle Miraglia, Jenee Halstead, and Samantha Farrell—four terrific Boston-based songwriters who will share some of their favorite songs by their favorite female musicians as well as some of their original songs!
To learn more about Lisa, visit her website.
Here’s a video of Lisa singing “Rabbit Hole.”
Lisa took some time to tell us what Lucinda Williams means to her!
On February 22, I’ll be performing songs by Carole King, Patti Smith, Emmylou Harris, Stevie Nicks, and Lucinda Williams for our “Women Who Paved The Way” tribute show. I feel honored to have the chance to sing some of my favorite songs by the artists who have influenced and inspired me most, and I thought I’d share a little bit about how I first got hooked on Lucinda Williams…
“I want to go and stand awhile, I want to know you’re there but I want to be alone…” Flashback to the early 2000s, I am driving in my old Honda Civic on I-10 from New Orleans to Austin, from one “tips appreciated” gig to another. Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998) is blasting on my car stereo, and I’m definitely singing along. “Hey, hey, June bug versus hurricane, hey, hey.” My sun visor CD holder is stocked with all her other albums too —Ramblin’ (1979), Happy Woman Blues (1980), Sweet Old World (1992), Essence (2001), World Without Tears (2003). As I am just letting these stories of tired waitresses and drunken angels soak in, there is the added effect of hearing the names of the towns in her songs while driving through them: Beaumont, Slidell, Lafayette, Nagadochez, Lake Charles. The songs came alive for me on a summer highway, driving alone. I didn’t feel quite alone, as I had Lucinda’s songs for company. Her songs spoke to me in a way that made me feel like responding, someday, somehow, with stories of my own.
I’d already fallen deeply in song-love with Bob Dylan – everything from his earliest acoustic ballads to the surreal, “wild mercury sound” of his rock and roll; from his Nashville Skyline crooning to the beautiful and blurred rattles of Oh Mercy. While there were the obvious shared influences of blues, folk, and early country music, Lucinda was different, and kind of a revelation for me. Where Dylan was in a constant state of change and reinvention, Lucinda Williams seemed to be in more of an ongoing state of mining – honing and refining her craft, writing and voice down to its essence. Discovering Lucinda’s music gave me an introduction to a whole other kind of writing and singing that was both literate and visceral, tough and vulnerable at the same time. There’s such a strong sense of location and history, with real, human stories and a palpable empathy for the characters she writes about.
When I think about Lucinda Williams’ music, I think about how she’s able to express deep, relatable emotions with just a few, carefully chosen words, and attention to the smallest details that make a story come to life. That line “little bit of dirt mixed with tears” still guts me every time I hear it. These are all things I aspire to in my own songwriting. All these years later, I still think that Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is one of the very best albums ever made. Within the first few notes, I feel like I’m back on the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway, missing someone, yet not entirely minding being out there on my own