“These songs are dark,” says Liz Brasher of the material on her debut. “But they’re about having strength through the darkness.”
The 27 year-old Memphis-based chanteuse’s debut, “Cold Baby” is a stunning, smoldering slab of wax – a document of love and disillusion, faith and redemption – that instantly heralds Brasher as a thrilling new voice in American roots music.
Born in Matthews, North Carolina near Charlotte, Brasher was raised among a family of singers performing in the Baptist Church – albeit one with a twist. “My family is from the Dominican Republic so it was an all-Spanish congregation, much different than you would imagine a white Southern Baptist church to be,” she says.
“I’m first generation, so we only speak Spanish to one another. What that did was force me to be diverse in every realm. That varied background translated into my influences and how I write,” says Brasher, who came up studying the powerful spirituals of Mahalia Jackson and the close harmonies of Lennon and McCartney.
She got her showbiz start appearing with her family on local televangelist programs, then fronted a series of rock bands in high school. But Brasher found her true creative direction when she moved away to college in Chicago and began studying the roots of American music.
Brasher went directly to the source devouring the earliest Delta Blues sides: Geeshie Wiley, Elvie Thomas, Son House, Leadbelly. “And, in a way, that led to Bob Dylan, because Dylan took from all those people,” she says. “I fell in love with Dylan and the way he was able to write pure folk songs – songs for the people.” She soon picked up a guitar and began teaching herself how to play. “What happened was my own songs started flowing out, and they kept coming every single day.”