Anyone who walked the grounds at the Newport Folk Festival a few weeks back knows that the modern-folk music tag cuts a pretty broad swath. In 2010, the potential for a crossover sensation who can appeal to both seasoned folksters and blog-minded hipsters has never been more palpable. If she'd had a stage at Newport, Illinois-born Lissie Maurus would've tapped into both scenes with ease.
Her magnetic debut album doesn't aim to break new ground, but her rustic, Stevie Nicks–ish voice unifies the myriad sounds that position her as both a radio-ready alt-country chick and a young, hip folkstress who pulls off online covers of Lady Gaga and Kid Cudi. Catching a Tiger is an infectious collection of lyrical witticisms and bluesy sounds from a deep-rooted Midwestern girl making cultural sense of recent home bases Los Angeles and London — a view of inner-circle Laurel Canyon from the banks of the Mississippi River.
In press photos and album-cover art, Lissie's face appears without concealer, and the au naturel symbolism — despite the American Apparel vibe — is clear. The songs are fleshed out yet still raw. On the standout country-fied single "When I'm Alone," Lissie proves that the only thing more diverse than her bourbon-drunk folk pop is the crowds who will gravitate toward it.