Lianna's 'Walk In My Shoes' is must-have debut

Samiha Khanna, A&E Editor, The Pendulum Online

You've seen her open up for MBB at the Lighthouse with her enthusiasm for performing and mellifluous voice. She has also warmed up audiences for Hobex, John Mellencamp and Hootie and the Blowfish, and she even won second place in the Cape Fear Folk Festival Songwriting Contest last year.

Lianna, another first-name-only wonder, decided to stray from her law education to write songs. Her debut album, Walk In My Shoes, has won the title of Best-Selling Album by a Local Artist at Schoolkids Records twice, as well as the acclaim of local critics.

Unlike the innumerable Jewel wannabes with their extraneous "boop boop be do's," Lianna has found a way to evade the inevitable labels that come with being a female songwriter—she is no femi-nazi, nor is she relying on cuteness to carry her.

In fact, with her up-front approach to the music on the album, she calls for respect as a songwriter—not just as a female songwriter.

The album gets off to a fast start with catchy "Reasons Why" and "Gave It Away." After this brief intro to her sound, you get into the richer "Better Days," when the music breaks on down to about half-speed. Just when you catch your breath, this leads into the polished title track.

With a little help from her friends Dean Felber and Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish, Lianna puts forth her strongest sound with track five, "Walk In My Shoes," with ear-catching crescendos in the chorus that force you to harmonize with the easy progression of the melody. The percussion picks up the pace, while Bryan on the mandolin adds more depth to the song.

Other standouts on the disc include "Is It Real?", with its dramatic touch of minor chords; "I'm Free," having covals that resemble the tumbling enunciation of a mellowed Ani DiFranco; and "A Little Longer," a sleepy Sunday afternoon song that displays Lianna's vocal range as she dapples into a few deeper notes.

The majority of the songs take the disc back to the smooth harmonies and vocal crescendos found on the Murmurs' 1994 self-titled album.

Although most of the lyrics do not jump off the page, Lianna does use some interesting metaphors, such as on "Some Other Day": "I suppose it was just bad timing/ to find the gold when I first started mining." The 11-song independent effort screams of infectious, hopeful pop tunes. For those who like a tighter sound, "Walk In My Shoes" is a local must-have.

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1/11/09, 8:00pm
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From Here CD coverLianna's latest CD, From Here, is now available at shows and in the Shop section. Buy it now!

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