Back to Forever


A funny thing happened midway through 2013. I found Lissie Maurus completely by accident, and she would quickly become one of my favorite artists.

Back then, her new album was still forthcoming and wouldn’t be out for months, but her catalog dominated my playlists on Spotify for months leading up to the new album. When BACK TO FOREVER finally dropped, it quickly became the album of the year for me. So I thought I’d share how I actually found Lissie.

It’s important to know that I usually tune out my wife’s Pandora. Often it’s playing in the background as I’m scuttling after my daughter, trying to keep her entertained. I’m hardly paying attention, and April’s stations are usually saturated with dance music. The combination of genre and frequency of rotation tends to wear on my limited attention span. But one track in particular by Morgan Page kept tugging at me. Something about the vocals wouldn’t let me tune out FIGHT FOR YOU.
It hit that sweet spot in my ear, tickling my aural pleasure centers, refusing to be denied.

It had to be the umpteen-millionth time the song played when I finally roused myself to look up the credits. I knew it was Morgan Page; I’d asked April earlier in passing. Unfortunately there were no vocal credits attached to the song. He’s bad about that, I guess. But I latched onto another track of his, THE LONGEST ROAD, that cemented my love of the vocalist. That trail of breadcrumbs led me to find her name, bio, and a surprising selection of videos on YouTube.

Everything I watched was outstanding. I mean absolute freakin’ gold. Every. Single. Track. She covered Fleetwood Mac’s GO YOUR OWN WAY like a boss. Then she flipped Kid Cudi’s like it was no big thing. And damn she belted out Lady Gaga’s BAD ROMANCE like a diva.

Who was this woman? Why hadn’t I heard her before?

I scrambled to add those covers to my Lissie playlist on Spotify, along with her newly discovered her first album and EP. I devoured it all daily and never tired of her music. By the time the new album dropped, I was listening to Lissie in such heavy rotation that my expectations were waaaaay to high. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve set myself up like this as one great album from an artist turns out to be one and done for me as I wait an excruciatingly long time for new material that falls flat.

Thankfully not this time. Lissie knocked it out of the park. I couldn’t have been more happy with BACK TO FOREVER from first listen. Every track stood out. The album builds from lead track to last in all the right ways, a mix of fast and slow, thoughtful and frivolous tunes. The songwriting is outstanding. The musicianship is right on par, and the production is top notch. What an achievement.

What’s most impressive is that the album gels as a cohesive listen because of the diverse mix of songs. Lissie’s range of vocal styling is downright ridiculous. No one should be this talented, shifting between rock, folk, country, and even ’70s flavor. Better yet, the deluxe cut of the album features stripped down tracks that highlight her vocals. The bonus material isn’t just filler, but interesting variations on previous tracks that stand on equal footing.

I dare you to sit and listen to the bonus version of MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL without getting chills. The lyrical storytelling is superb, deeply ingrained in social consciousness and personal narrative. You’ll have about as much luck stopping yourself from rocking the fuck out to I DON’T WANNA GO TO WORK. Crazy that both songs come from the same artist. Crazier still that they meld together so well.

Somehow Lissie follows in the best tradition of soulful singer / songwriters, driving a soulful message with one track without ever losing that sense of irreverence you’ll see from her as she’s knocking back tequila on stage. I imagine this album captures a perfect snapshot of her. She’s clearly put so much of herself into the album. I’m glad to share this wonderful nugget of musical splendor. I hope you give the album a try and enjoy!

And if you do, circle back for her other releases COVERED UP WITH FLOWERS, CATCHING A TIGER, and WHY YOU RUNNIN’.


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