When it came time for singer/songwriter Lizanne Knott to make Bones and Gravity, she had to take partial lyrics and snippets of melodies recorded into her phone and weave it all together into a tightly bound album. Bones and Gravity is complete and cohesive, but also has a charming unfinished quality that allows the listener to truly hear Knott’s songs.
The album has an intimacy that feels old-fashioned in a reassuring way. The songs and
performances are simple and direct, which makes them easier to take in. She’s not trying to
dazzle you with production so much as she’s trying to simply and directly put across her ideas. These feel like very polished demos, in that they convey the essence of the songs and place Knott’s voice front-and-center.
There are trippy tracks, like “Kindness,” which features beautifully cryptic lines like “You took the shadows from my wall / When they weren’t mine to give at all.” Knott sings in a voice that derives its power from its honesty. She’s fearless and it’s positively captivating. The
arrangement behind her singing is sparse, but features some beautiful bowed bass from Chico Huff that makes it feel like a Michael Kamen orchestra is swelling behind her.
“Lay Him Down” is Celtic country, with festive fiddles, jaggedly sharp lap steel, and angry lyrics: “I curse the day he called my name / Wrapped my heart in a burning flame / Then he pulled me under like a ball and chain.” Dan May provides ridiculously deep backing vocals that are a fascinating juxtaposition to Knott’s higher ones. The whole track feels like it’s from another time, feeling both religious and haunting.
“Emmylou” is a sweet tribute to Emmylou Harris. It’s one of the poppier songs on the album, and what’s nice about it is that the performance and song itself don’t necessarily evoke Harris. Instead Knott is channeling the spirit of an artist that has inspired her, but isn’t copying her by rote. That is the ultimate Harris tribute.
Bones and Gravity is a simple album. Knott has a beautiful voice and the tracks, delicately
produced by Glenn Barratt, give Knott plenty of space to showcase those vocals as well as her songwriting. The tunes aren’t sketches, but also aren’t dense, crowded paintings. Instead Knott has crafted an album that errs on the side of less, so that the listener can truly hear everything she has to offer.
Artist: Lizanne Knott
Title: Bones and Gravity
Label: Good Dog Jake Music
Release Date: October 4, 2019
Running Time: 40:00