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Liz Stahler - Stitches in My Sleeve

Stitches in My Sleeve

Liz Stahler

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Roberta B. Schwartz
(rschwart@bowdoin.edu)

Liz Stahler is one of the best new singer/songwriters coming out of the very active Boston acoustic music scene. She sings in a soft, intimate style with a voice that is unmistakably her own. The moment she sings the first note of a song, she captivates with vocals that ache and break in all of the right places. Evidently some of the big television networks have taken note of Stahler's gifts. Her songs have appeared on both The Ghost Whisperer and The Unit.

I heard her sing live for the first time a few weeks ago. She opened for someone with a bigger name and following What I do know is that she captured the interest of that performer's fans in a heartbeat with her beautifully crafted tunes and easy "I'm just a girl with a shoe obsession" patter. And I'm sure of one thing—that Liz Stahler is going places—places where larger audiences can appreciate how cool she really is.

Stahler writes and sings about complicated emotions. The CD opens with Wishing Well, which addresses the yearning one has in an unfulfilled relationship, coupled with the need to move on:

Sorry my love from this empty, aching heart
There's so much I want, but you're all I've got!
You're all I've got.

In Miles Left Stahler sings that "hearts don't break/they bend out of shape." Kristen Cifelli supplies lovely, understated backing vocals. Stahler's talented band includes Mike Piehl on drums, Alex Knutsen on electric guitar and Richard Gates on bass.

All of Stahler's gifts come together on the recording's best cut, "I Blame Me." Here Stahler accompanies herself on keys, while Alex Knutson mesmerizes on electric guitar. The lyrics tell it all:

My breath turned to smoke in the rain
Where the city streets have never been repaved.
Whiskey's been my favorite lonely taste.
Maybe if I'd just quit drinking,
Lost ten pounds, spend less time thinking,
You'd be soaking wet, here with me.

I blame myself, I blame me.

Now You're Gone examines the terrible feelings of loss, regret and blame that result from a death that comes too soon. The layered vocals of Kristin Cifelli and Stahler create an ethereal, other-worldly sound that is comforting and soothing. The melody stays with you long after the song is over.

Stitches in My Sleeve is beautifully produced by Jason Petrin, who also plays acoustic and electric guitar, as well as the banjo on several cuts. He frames Stahler's voice and lyrics with just the right amount of instrumentation, knowing when to kick it up a notch and when to turn it down, enabling the listener to focus on gorgeous melodies and elegant poetry.

Liz Stahler has talent dripping from every pore. Stitches in My Sleeve is an indie treasure trove of melodic tunes, edgy emotions and true to life storytelling. Liz Stahler is someone to watch....

Track List:

  • Wishing Well
  • Long Ride
  • Miles Left
  • Not That Easy
  • Jane
  • Weather the Storm
  • I Blame Me
  • Someone You Love
  • Now You're Gone
  • Sinking In
  • Don't Give Up
All songs written by Liz Stahler, © 2007

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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