Ilsabe OConnell

Ilsabe OConnell


I write alternative country that tells stories, sometimes sad, but always with humor and hope. If the story isn't compelling, or the music doesn't offer some kind of hook, I don't write the song. Influences include Emmylou Harris & Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, Dolly Parton.


I was born in Germany, grew up in Kansas. I moved to Chicago to study art history, but ended up writing songs instead, and studying music at the acclaimed Old Town School of Folk Music. I've been performing at many venues throughout Chicago, alternately with guitarist Victor Sanders and Dennis Cahill on guitar and mandolin. I'm currently putting together a four-piece band with drummer Mark Senser. I also work alongside artist and husband Mitch O'Connell. We're taking care of two great kids and putting together a second CD, due out in the Fall of 2008.


The Dollar Store

Written By: Ilsabe OConnell

You don’t know what you’re missing till you’ve seen what I got
There ain’t no resisting the things I bought at the Dollar store (the Dollar store)
Tomorrow I’m going back to buy a little bit more.
You wouldn’t believe all the deals in there:
fake flowers and knock-off Tupperware at the Dollar Store (the Dollar store)
and all kinds of scented candles and tschotchke galore.
Chorus: Butter flavored cookies packed in tins
lip gloss, hot sauce and bobby pins
fuzzy teddy bears for you to adopt
action figures from the movie that flopped
you can’t buy love and you can’t buy hope...But there’s plenty of anti-bacterial soap.
Ever since it moved into the neighborhood
Let me tell you, folks, the shopping is good at the Dollar store (the Dollar store)
where there's nothin' I really need, but --so what! --I can afford...
Yeah, I work and I make five-fifty and hour
but I still got plenty of purchasing power at the Dollar store (the Dollar store)
Man, I feel so filthy rich while I’m gettin’ dirt poor
(Chorus: Butter-flavored cookies. . .)
George Washington has a twinkle in his eye
as I hold up a bill and I kiss it good-bye at the Dollar store (the Dollar store)
Please... somebody stop me, cuz I’m buckin’ for more.


12 song CD: "Little Lost Cause" -- various internet sites and radio programs have played my songs. I have appeared live on WNUR and WCKG in Evanston and Chicago, respectively.

Set List

Covers: Lucinda Williams, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Julie Miller, Joe Jackson, Greg Brown, Kim Richey, the Cars, Leonard Cohen, Jane Siberry, Rickie Lee Jones

Original Set List:
The Dollar Store
Nothing I Don't Like
Old Konstanz
Blow Me Away
Tonight on the Carnival Midway
Over Your Head
Some Truth to the Ad
Little Lost Cause
Pity Party
Oh Henry
All That's Left
Made in Mexico
Bitter When I'm Old
Couples in Restaurants
Permanent Ink
White Tail Deer
Till She Falls
Abel To My Cain
Lucky Penny

Usually two 45 minute sets.