Lisa Mednick

Texas Platters

Phases and Stages

Lisa Mednick

Semaphore (Texas Music Group) With Semaphore, her second solo recording, Austin's Lisa Mednick ups the ante for herself by inching closer to Lucinda Williams' turf without actually encroaching on it ("No More Rain," Chickamauga"). That's largely because she distances herself from the singer-songwriter category by emphasizing her musicianship. The local multi-instrumentalist has accrued enough history to satisfy the snottiest credential-sniffers (Earl King, Juliana Hatfield, Half Japanese, Charles Neville, Alejandro Escovedo, Tanya Donnelly, Radney Foster), distilling that experience into Semaphore's intelligent offering. Mednick's vocals aren't the most distinctive -- her range is limited -- but the voice suits the material, and the two are entwined inextricably. The dozen tunes carry a purposeful weight, sometimes melodically, sometimes lyrically. On "Widow of This World," she assumes a Patti Smith-like chant at the end, and on "Feed the Beast" she warns, "With one hand I held out a carrot, behind my back a butcher knife." That's where shying away from the singer-songwriter labels might get her in trouble; Mednick's a poet of the first order. "When I walk away in three-quarter time, it's a sad Louisiana waltz," she sings on the song of the same name, ethereal but never fey. She has a secret, and maybe that's the semaphore the title song refers to, Lisa Mednick's private code for the heart and mind.

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Margaret Moser
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?

March 3, 2017

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle