By Lisa on September 15, 2012
Lisa Mann is one of my favorite people in the whole world and we’ve never even met. She’s based in Portland, Oregon and I’m here in Virginia. Only an entire country separates us, but we’ve become good friends through her music and trading emails when we can. This lady is extremely busy; she’s touring, recording, writing, and doing some amazing work and I’m lucky enough to get to hear it later. Her second album “Satisfied” is self-published and available at live venues or at CD Baby here. You can find out all things Lisa Mann at her website.
I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re looking for a completely objective review of her music, well, I’ll be honest and fair, but honestly I really liked this album a lot. I first listened to it the way I listen to a lot of CDs, I threw it in my car player and listened while I drove back and forth between Richmond and Jordan’s Branch. I can catch up on a lot of CDs while covering that territory, but I mainly listened to Mann’s sides over and over again.
Her voice is remarkable – she has the ability to purr and then immediately switch to a deep growl. There is no doubt that she is growing as an artist, her confidence is sky high, and it should be. She’s assembled a fine band made up of Jeff Knudson on guitars, Michael Ballash on drums and Brian Harris on keys. There are a number of guest artists that I’ll cover in a minute.
All in All, “Satisfied” is a very strong CD, one that I’m proud to put on the juke box. And Lisa, if you ever make it to the East Coast, we’ll make sure you have a stage to play. Just come on down to the crossroads and we’ll set you up.MORE >>
By Lisa on August 5, 2012
Lisa Mann leaves this listener more than SATISFIED with her latest release. Smart writing, soulful vocals and great hooks all come together for a powerhouse album showcasing this wonderful band. Forget two thumbs up-both my EARS are at attention. Bravo!”
Biggdaddy Ray Hansen
Blues Therapy Radio Show KWCW Walla Walla
Satisfied rocketed to #1 on the WMHB Top 40 monthly blues chart shortly after it arrived in the mail and the CD proves once again that Lisa Mann is the real deal. While the musicianship and song-writing are outstanding, the vocals are what set Lisa apart – from smokey and soulful on ballads to smokin’-red-hot on upbeat tracks. Need blues? Lisa Mann will leave you Satisfied and then some.”
Cap’n Barney aka Pat Turlo
ODD ROCK on WMHB 89.7 FM
Ms. Mann has a deep throaty voice that at once surprises and then pleases within seconds of each other. “Satisfied” contains an intelligent and wide variety of songs reaches to all corners of the blues/roots genre and subject matter. Her approach to the bass can best be described as a subtle force. It is ever present, blending with the sound of the band but taking front stage when called for. Whether it’s a Portland Shuffle or a slow burner “Satisfied” will do leave the listener in just that state.”
Jimi Patricola, Blues411.com
Great gooly mooglies, another solid CD! Every cut is a winnah, I just can’t see us NOT playing a cut.”
Jon Alan, Hawai’i Public Radio
Brant Zwicker, “At the Crossroads”
By jenjo on July 20, 2012
Lisa Mann – Satisfied
Lisa Mann has created another sensational disc with her latest, Satisfied, that is chock-full of her amazing vocals and wonderful instrumentation featuring Her Really Good Band and a bevy of local musicians. Catchy tunes that demand continual replay and will have you tapping your toes and snapping your fingers along to each. All but four of the tracks were written by Lisa herself, further displaying a knack for clever songwriting that consistently grows stronger with each new recording she offers.
The core band of Lisa on bass, Jeff Knudson on guitar, drummer Michael Ballash and Brian Harris on keys have developed into such a sharp, tight and precise outfit that shines brightly throughout the disc. It is no wonder that they receive accolades every year from the Cascade Blues Association’s Muddy Awards and recently took home the award for most outstanding achievement in the blues from the Portland Music Awards. The camaraderie works to perfection on Satisfied. Lisa’s bass hooks are captured nicely next to Jeff Knudson’s sizzling guitar and Brian Harris’ intricate organ work.
The song selections are all highlights. There is no down moment at any point on the disc. There is a range of emotions throughout and numbers like the Peter Allen/Carol Bayer Sager track “Alone” can bring tears to your eyes while the humor of originals “I Was Gonna” or “See You Next Tuesday” will find you smiling to yourself. Knudson’s guitar work delivers crisply on Little Milton’s “Satisfied,” smolders on “Surrender To The Blues” and “Til The Wheels Come Off,” plus the acoustic work on “Have I Told You I Love You Today” is absolutely beautiful next to Lisa’s breathy voice.
There is no shortage of fantastic friends sitting in on the album, all professionals who bring their magic forth magnificently. Kevin Selfe’s snappy guitar on Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Don’t Touch Me” alongside the horns of Joe McCarthy, Dan Fincher and Brad Ulrich give this timeless classic a reading that’d make Johnny himself wishing he’d been part of this recording. Lloyd Jones inspired the song “Always Nobody,” where Lisa explains that sometimes you’re more appreciated outside of your own home town with Lloyd sitting in on vocals and guitar, while Brian Harris’ keys are rolling steadily. Mitch Kashmar’s chromatic harp is a grinding force on “Kings Of Black Gold” pounding the song’s flow matched intensely by Knudson’s guitar. That tune is followed by the brightly, happy go lucky harp of Joe Powers on “Doin’ Alright,” with Lisa’s feel good message fueled by a chorus consisting of a vocal cast of Sonny Hess, Brian Foxworth, LaRhonda Steele and Rae Gordon. Other great musicians on the disc include Kevin LaBaron on sax, Caton Lyles on percussion and former Insomniacs Alex Shakeri on keys and Dave Melyan on drums.
The best part of Lisa Mann’s music is that it can appeal to a variety of different genres. She may be a blueser at heart, but many of these songs can easily cross over to the pop and rock market. And it should be a winning disc wherever it is played and heard. Simply put, Satisfied is one satisfying album!
Total Time: 51:15
See You Next Tuesday / Gamblin’ Virgin Mary / Satisfied / Surrender To The Blues / Have I Told You I Love You Today / Always Nobody / Til The Wheels Come Off / Catch Me When I Fall / I Was Gonna / Alone / Don’t Touch Me / Kings Of Black Gold / Doin’ Alright
Reviewed by Greg Johnson
Cascade Blues Association
By jenjo on July 20, 2012
Lisa Mann – Satisfied
Self Release – 13 tracks / 51:09
When I got Lisa Mann’s latest CD, Satisfied, I was glad to find a fellow bass player who has the initiative to take the leading role in a band. She is accomplished in both roles, having won awards for both her vocals and bass playing from the Cascade Blues Association (she hails from the Portland, Oregon area).
Besides her performing roles, Lisa also has the principal songwriting roles in this release. She wrote nine of the thirteen tracks and they all have smart lyrics and great musical scores. It is nice that they give their customers over 50 minutes of music, as many new releases barely come in at 40 minutes these days.
One worry that I had before listening to this album was that if the leader and songwriter was a bass player, that this exercise would be a total bass wank-fest. It turns out that though the bass part is forward in the mix and a more complicated than on many blues albums, is never becomes overbearing.
“See You Next Tuesday” is the lead-off track on Satisfied, and right away the listener gets an up-tempo blues romp with Brian Harris on the organ and Jeff Knudson playing smooth licks on the guitar. If this is your first experience with Lisa Mann, you will find that she has a rich and full voice, and can really belt out a tune. It is a brief and humorous tune, which makes it like a good appetizer before a feast.
Jeff Johnson’s “Gamblin’ Virgin Mary” comes next and changes things up a little as it starts out with a growly bass lick that proves that Lisa has got the blues pouring out of her fingertips too. Lisa switches to more a gospel tone with her vocals, and the keyboards are layered with honky-tonk piano and organ tones. Michael Ballash’s drums are perfectly in sync with Lisa, providing a solid foundation.
“Always Nobody” is another original song with funny lyrics, describing how humbling is it to be home when it seems like you are appreciated everywhere else. Fellow Oregonian (and one heck of a musician) Lloyd Jones is featured on vocals and guitar on this track, and his voice works in very well with Lisa’s. I wonder if he does not feel famous in Portland too…
From the title you can figure out that “Have I Told You I Love Your Today” is a love song. It also happens to be a very good pop/rock tune that is as radio-friendly as you can get, and is yet another great showcase for Lisa Mann’s vocal talents, too.
Carlo Bayer Sager’s “Alone” is just Lisa and her bass, and she has tastefully reworked this song to make it her own. Her raw emotion and beautiful voice make this one of my favorite tracks on Satisfied. This track provides also gives the listener a small rest before jumping back into the blues with Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Don’t Touch Me”, which has some awesome guitar work from Kevin Selfe, and horns from Dan Fincher, Joe McCarthy and Brad Ulrich.
After eleven tracks with the usual blues themes of hard times, disillusionment and love lost, “Kings of Black Gold” is a splash of cold water to the face with its heavy political message. I do not see Satisfied as a political album, so this track does not fit in with the rest of the tunes. Of course it is a well-written song, and Mitch Kashmar does a nice job with the harmonica parts on this track, so I did not let it bring me down.
The somber tone does not last though, as the album finishes off with “Doin’ Alright”, which is an upbeat tune with Joe Powers sitting in on the harmonica. Also featured is Brian Fowxorth, who takes over as drummer and adds a little soul with his backing vocals on this track. This song was a great choice for ending the album, as it brings things to close on a happy note.
So, the bottom line is that Lisa Mann and her group did a very good job on Satsified, which provides a little bit of everything from blues to pop and sadness to humor. This is a solid album with consistently catchy tunes and a passel of great musicians, and is well worth the ten bucks it costs to download it online. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!
Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at rexbass.blogspot.com.MORE >>