Totally Biased Fan Review: Free Spirited – Susan Lily

Everyone should have a Susan Lily in their lives. I think that we were buddies in the last one and we’re more than likely to be pals in the next one. In this life, Susan and I have had many conversations…..most of them are related to music, but not all of them. We’re both proud silly people but we both have a deep side and in the words of another top music sheila, with us, there’s more than meets the eye.

This review is about Susan and her music and this album in particular, but it is hard to separate the extra personal side of this review from the nitty gritty details. As always, my review is from the heart, I am not one to be over critical or analytical. I just say what I feel and with musos and writers and passionate fans, it is hard not to pour it all out on a page.

Susan not only promotes her own music but she also does a lot of freelance radio work and she does a lot to promote the Adelaide music scene and in particular the fringe festival. She is chiefly an entertainer, dubbed Giggles for her Loose ‘n’ Silly (mix up her name) approach. You can tell that she loves her work, she enjoys every moment of entertaining a crowd.

Some of her songs are sad, some are silly, some are upbeat, some are melancholy. Susan takes us on her musical journey, but you become part of that journey too, just by singing, clapping and being there.  She puts her heart into it all.

With the not so shabby musos on this album, it is pretty obvious that she is well respected. It is hard to top that line up in this country. Magician Anthony Stewart proves again that he is the master in South Australia. Another great production, sir.

We are served up a veritable feast on this album – can’t help but think that this is just about the most ‘country’ album that Susan has done, and to be honest, I was afraid that she was going to go another way….she hints on it with a few songs, but she gives us enough country in those tangent songs that makes us realise that she is staying where she belongs! She mixes it up but it has a country backbone.

In life, you don’t get a much better person on your team than Susan Lily and on a record, you can say the same. She’s the whole package.

The Tracks:

Musical Journey:  – A good one to start off with, because that is what this is all about. Enjoy the ride.

Had A Dream – Probably a shower song in the making. A very catchy tune and I love the Harmonica. Some nice pickin’ too.

When Rail Was King – I always love a train song. People will always win me over with one of those. A toe tapping tune and a bit of a ‘ghost’ song…..don’t ever write off a train though….they will be back.

Country Boy City Blues – A bluesy country song with a cool back beat. A familiar story for those of us – boys and girls – who have lived in the city and want to be back where we belong.  I think that Susan’s voice lends itself best to the bluesy style.

You’re Gone: Yee Haa…..very country and Tamworth will eat this one up. I did a very bad dance around the kitchen….the last line and the giggle suggest that we are in for a party next time we meet….ha….that will be a change!

Tough As Geranium – Top ten material. This is probably my favourite on the album. A Lily who sings about a geranium and a chick called Daisy Jane…..love it.

Free Spirited Girl – A wee bit of the Celtic in this one….and a bit of bluegrass….Rowlf and I did a bit of a jig around the lounge room. Susan often writes songs about strong women and sometimes not so strong women. They are always colourful characters, this is no exception.

Coming Down – A bit of funky, bluesy, hummable music in the offing here. Cool guitars and fiddle.

I Just Wanna Be Happy: This is a bottler of a song. It has such a mix of styles in it and a definite shower song contender.  Combine reggae, blues, and good pop and you have this one. It has a familiarity to it. It feels like I have heard it before but maybe that is because I have a line on Susan’s wavelength. It has a similarity to a tune from New In Town (a Renee Zellweger movie) but that may just be me….either way, it is a cool ditty.

Big Girl Pants: Another very country song. I put my big girl pants on last year, so I know what this means.

Whiskey Neat: Another Free spirited song? Probably the most up tempo song on the album. Not in subject, but in rhythm. Lots of guitars and drums. I can imagine Susan having fun recording this song. She loves to belt one out. This will be popular with a crowd. This one shows how versatile she can be.

Feeling Love: Yee Haa…..Get down and get back up again….Another one for the shower….probably a good one to round off the album. You can’t get much further up than being on top of the world. Play that banjo, Hamish!  A good one for a train ride or a drive.

Musos:

Susan Lily – Lead Vocals

Tracy Stewart and Steven Sherrah – Backing Vocals

Anthony Stewart – Electric, Acoustic, Baritone and Bass Guitar, Mandolin, percussion, Uke and Uke Bass, Oxygen Mask

Trent Williamson – Harmonica

Bradley Bergen – Drums

Hamish Davidson – Violin, Banjo

Benjy Pocock – Lead Guitar

Dave Moore – Pedal Steel

Richard Coates – Keys, Piano Accordian, Hammond Organ

Rod Motbey – Slide and Lead Guitar

Produced and mixed by Anthony Stewart

Mastered by Neville Clark

All songs by Susan Lily.

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