Liz Stringer: All The Bridges

Where exactly does Liz Stringer's heart lie?

- Liz Stringer’s push into The US and Canada seems like a more appropriate move for her than most Aussie artists. I mean it is the heartland of the heartland rock that she’s been belting out so emotively, all these years; the yearning bred of cold nights on hard roads that’s fuelled everyone from Steve Earle to Springsteen is very present on Stringer’s latest collection, All The Bridges.

She rambled over to Portland to record it with producer Adam Selzer, known for his work with Jolie Holland and The Decemberists among others. A substantial number of the songs only got penned in transit and are full of bittersweet homesickness and tales of the road.

For all the heartache and the fry in Stringer’s voice, especially as she heads for the emotive climaxes, this is certainly the smoothest record she’s put out yet, almost the kind of country rock that slick fella Tom Petty does. It might be a little demonstrative of me, but I usually like a bit more Gaslight Anthem grit in this kind of Americana, but, yeah, that can go too far in the other direction as well.

It’s even further removed from her ‘roots’ as a raw, acoustic singer-songwriter, the type you’ll hear on Stringer’s earlier records Tides Of TimePendulum, and SoonAll The Bridges is, instead, a continuation of the lusher, poppier and more orchestrated tunes of Warm In The Darkness. The ‘80s is strongly present on All The Bridges, right down to the bright colours patchworking the album artwork; it’s like a tasteful Ken Done piece, if that’s possible. It’s very easy to imagine Liz doing the ‘80s two-step a-la Chrissie Hynde to most of these tunes. Actually you can see her doing a kinda restrained version of it on the video to single, Anyone.

It’s easy to understand how Stringer’s sound would appeal in smokey bars across North America, which probably explains why she’s spending more and more time there. However, if any Australian fans are worried she might be losing her actual roots, I’ve had a look: her Facebook posts are still littered with AFL references and she signs them off as ‘Stringsey’. You can take the girl out of the country, as they say… Given that and whatever else you might say about Liz Stringer’s heartland, there’s a corner of it which is still very much Australian.

- Chris Cobcroft.

Album Details

Album Title: All The Bridges
Artist: Liz Stringer
Record Label: (Vitamin)