Artist: Lizanne Knott
Album: Excellent Day
Label: Proper Music
Release Date: 04/15/2016
Lizanne Knott is a folk singer. I know, because I saw her at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. All right, so that isn’t a exclusive distinction for everyone who plays there… but it’s close. Honestly, categorizing music and musicians by genre is not only not my strong suit, it also isn’t a practice I agree with too much.The point I’m making is that, from the first listen to the last– and believe me the last is way far off– this album makes me feel like I’m sitting in a smoke filled cafe in Paris, listening to a wonderful singer, perched on a stool pouring her heart out. Okay, so kill the smoke, except in the case of Knott’s voice, of course. I have heard it described as smoky, and it is. Smoky, infectious, sexy and just plain enjoyable. Any album that takes me back to Paris is a winner in my book, but Excellent Day is much more than a memory invoking treat; It is an easy to listen to, warm, thought provoking effort that you can listen to over and over again.
It seems that a long time friend and guitarist, Jef Lee Johnson, encouraged Knott to dig deeper, and the result is the blues and jazz flavored Excellent Day. So thank you, Jef Lee Johnson. Your influence has resulted in an album I enjoy, and I am sure you would have as well. Knott covered one of his songs for the title track “Excellent Day,” which has a syncopated drum beat bed and a soothing guitar as the foundation for a strong suggestion not to mess with her excellent day. Knott also covers Janis Ian’s song, “Sometimes,” which is an incredible folk track that fits her vocal range perfectly. Another great cover on the album is the George and Ira Gershwin classic “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”
The covers are great, but I love the way the album starts, with “Come For The Kill,” a hard driving intro to the album that tells you right off that Knott is about to open up her heart and pour it out for your enjoyment. I could easily comment on each and every song, but I won’t. I have to leave something for you to discover and experience for yourself. And, I hope you do. I am pretty damn sure you will enjoy it. See you all in Paris.
– Mark J. Smith