You know when you hear a song, and you think: “Wow, that singer really just put herself out there”? You feel almost a little embarrassed, as though you’re reading someone’s diary, taking a sneek peak at her soul.
Well, if you haven’t experienced it, now is your chance, because that’s what every single one of Boston folk singer Liz Longley’s songs is like. A rising acoustic sensation, she connects her music to her own deeply personal experiences, and has found that that connection makes all the difference. “I realized eventually that if it resonates for me, then it will resonate for people listening,” Longley says.
It’s not surprising that John Mayer called Longley’s music “gorgeous, simply gorgeous.” Besides that particular honor from the man everyone loves to hate, Longley is scooping up accolades left and right.
Longley debuted material off her acclaimed second album, Somewhere in the Middle at the Newport Folk Festival last August, and if that wasn’t enough, NPR recorded her set. “When You’ve Got Trouble,” a song off the album, won the 2010 Grand Prize International Music Award.
Longley was also awarded the 2010 BMI John Lennon Scholarship and the 2010 Christ Austin Songwriting Award. All of these awards came just this past year, and all to a girl who graduated from Berklee in May. But despite her immense success, Longley is not nearly satisfied and continues pushing herself, and her music, as far as she can.
“I wrote a song about my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s,” she said. “I didn’t play it for a long time because I thought it was too personal and wouldn’t resonate. My mother, though, kept encouraging me to share it. I finally played it, and I was so surprised by how many people could relate [to it]. It seemed to really hit a deep place for people. Now, I don’t go a show without playing it.”
That track, “Unraveling,” is just one of many haunting and melodic piano tunes carried by Longley’s stirring voice on her new album, Hot Loose Wire. She said it’s unlike her other albums. “It’s just me, a guitar and a piano, very bare organic tracks, no band. I wanted it to sound like what people hear when they come to my shows.” Longley has been performing music for live audiences since she was 16, when she wrote most of the songs on her first album, Take You Down.
Life experiences, a Berklee education and continued musical exploration produced Somewhere in the Middle. Favorites on Somewhere include “Overdue,” which she admits to audiences is about “realizing that nothing compares to my first love,” and “Rush,” a perfect incarnation of that breathless feeling that develops when you’re finding someone new.
Longley is playing several upcoming shows throughout Massachusetts, and kicking off this string of concerts in Harvard Square. For this tour, she’s co-headlining with Seth Glier, a talented singer-songwriter with a swoon-worthy pop-rock falsetto. Glier also took classes at Berklee, making this show a balance of Boston-bred brilliance.
With both performers undeniably on the rise, one thing’s absolutely certain: Glier, and most certainly Longley, are nowhere near the middle as her latest opus implies.
WITH SETH GLIER
47 PALMER ST.,