On her 2007 debut, Lissie’s songwriting sometimes struggled to keep up with her voice. The two share more equal footing throughout Why You Runnin’, a five-song EP that mixes Americana, folk, and Southern balladry into swirling patterns. Recorded in her adopted hometown of Ojai, CA -- one of the few places in the world to have a “pink moment” at sunset, where rose-colored light splashes across the Topatopa Mountains -- the songs are indebted to the stunning geography that inspired them, and Lissie uses her vocals to conjure up landscapes of rivers, prairieland, and heartache.
From the Neko Case/Lucinda Williams school comes Lissie, a KCRW-approved, all-American “free spirit” (she was expelled from high school because the teachers were trying to squash her enthusiasm, maaan), veteran of TV placement, film scores and commercials. But don’t let the trappings fool you—the girl can create atmosphere with her music. It’s the kind of atmosphere that, if you close your eyes, takes you to a different time and place.
Lissie Maurus comes from Rock Island, Illinois, a place that she and her songwriting is inextricably linked to. She exudes an old soul with timeless problems. Produced by Band of Horses bassist Bill Reynolds, Why You Runnin’ is an EP of five songs ranging from hand-clapping folk (“Little Lovin’”) to piano-led hymns to Mississippi (“Oh Mississippi”).