Lisa Bodnar & Whistlegrass
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Lisa Bodnar & Whistlegrass

Allentown, PA | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | SELF

Allentown, PA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2003
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Lisa Bodnar & Whistlegrass @ Cyber Cafe West

Binghamton, New York, United States

Binghamton, New York, United States

Lisa Bodnar & Whistlegrass @ The Bakery Lofts

New Jersey, United States

New Jersey, United States

Lisa Bodnar & Whistlegrass @ The FunHouse

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States



"Bodnar sings with an undefeated strength of spirit in a voice that soars with hope and passion."

July 19, 2007

''Come Hell or High Water'' is the title of singer-songwriter Lisa Bodnar's second CD and she has had plenty of both in the last few years. Her riverside house in Forks Township flooded three times, causing her to lose nearly all her possessions and putting a halt to her burgeoning musical career.

''Water put me through a lot and helped me create a lot,'' she says. The cover of the new CD shows the photogenic Bodnar holding a vase of water with her eyes closed, as if she is contemplating its mystery.

''Come Hell or High Water'' largely relates the ups and downs of Bodnar's recent life. Tracks range from ''You Stayed,'' a tribute to her partner and guitarist Dann Araque, to the reflective ''Fear'' and ''Sad Song.'' Whether reflecting on good or bad times, Bodnar sings with an undefeated strength of spirit in a voice that soars with hope and passion.
The recording features New York City session musicians, members of Bodnar's band, and even a choir on the title cut. It was produced by Dan Grigsby, whose credits include working with Keith Richards and Sting.

Bodnar performs solo, accompanying herself on piano, or backed by a band, up to seven pieces, as she was on Saturday at her CD release party at Connexions Gallery in Easton. For her show July 29 at Phillipsburg's Old Towne Festival, she will have five musicians that will give her an ''alt-country'' sound.

Dave Howell
- The Morning Call

"Review of Tin Angel Show"

Review of Tin Angel Performance

“The Whitehall native transformed tunes from her first CD, the recently released “Maybe I Did” into percolating suites. “Bubble Wrap” blossomed from a dodging defense against bad love into Arabic hypnotism. Bodnar’s voice was as mercurial as the arrangements.”
Geoff Gehman
The Morning Call
April 10, 2004
- Allentown Morning Call

"Such a superb disc"

Such a superb disc; it is outstanding in so many ways. But what really impressed me is Lisa's ability to bring out the subtle nuances of a melody and lyric. That's the mark of a really good singer/song writer... thats Lisa Bodnar."

Mike Nadock
Host, Cellarfull of Noise
WKAB 103.5, Berwick, PA
- WKAB 103.5

""Filled with Musical Gems""

“Have any of you heard of Lisa Bodnar? Well you will soon. She has a new album entitled Maybe I Did that is filled with musical gems. The CD includes the song, “Undone” that is a real smash and other tracks that are amazing include “Maybe I Did” taken from the albums title and “Bubble Wrap” just to name a few.”

Glenn Rossney
New Music Weekly
Inside Album Mix
- New Music Weekly

""An Enthralling Listen""

Lisa Bodnar's 'Maybe I Did' an enthralling listen

e-mail at

Mark Uricheck Music Contributor

NORTHEASTERN, Pa. - "I channel John Lennon and other cosmic beings that want justice to be served and love to rule..." - Lisa Bodnar on her music, and her philosophy on life.

From the first few strums of the guitar on the CD's opening title track, it's apparent that there's something powerful about her music. No, Lisa Bodnar is not your typical coffeehouse type singer/songwriter.

The Easton native's latest CD, Maybe I Did, may bear the hallmarks of your typical folksy troubadours - i.e. soul-bearing vocals interspersed with delicate acoustic guitar and piano. But what separates Bodnar from most in this genre - the stunning simplicity and accessibility of her songs. A complete lack of pretense in Lisa's music invites the listener to share in the universal emotions of her lyrics.

Maybe I Did is one of those CD's where you know there's something special about it upon first listen. Lisa' voice is graceful, commanding the melody of each song. Her vocals are captivating, painting a landscape for the listener in each song. Repeated listening will only enhance the beauty, reflections, and dreams that her music contains. Comparisons? Maybe some Sarah McLaughlin, maybe a little Jewel. Passing similarities aside, there is no doubt that Lisa Bodnar is out to forge her own distinctive sound.

While the songwriting is superb, the production on this CD is pristine. Crisp, punchy, and all around sonically appealing, perhaps the best compliment that can be given to the audio quality is that the disc should be listened to with headphones. Aided by producer Brett Kull, who also played numerous instruments on the CD, Maybe I Did is an independent CD that can rival anything the major labels spent millions on.

It would be wrong to give the impression that Maybe I Did is an acoustic CD: it's not. While acoustic tones dominate the disc, there are a host of interesting musical elements going on here. On the title track, there happens to be some all out electric guitar squalor on the outro. Lisa's piano dominates tracks like Stars and Surrender. There's also a hint of country twang on Undone. Organ and Wurlitzer provides a foundation on songs like the beautiful Sunflower. The CD's vitality is pumped up with tools like drum loops and rhythmic grooves - mix that with the emotional base of Lisa's songs and you've got a formula for a satisfying listening experience.

How to categorize Lisa Bodnar's music? Is it folk? Is it alt-country? Well, pop would seem to work well, as the music encompasses a mixture of elements. It's pop, but not in a derogatory sense of being overproduced fluff. Quite the contrary. This music is pop, as in the sense of being easily accessible to fans of many types of music. It's provocative, thoughtful stuff, but melodic and intriguing enough to catch the ears of diverse musical tastes.

Lisa Bodnar's music is the kind you get wrapped up in, the kind that sweeps you away. It's got an atmosphere to it. Maybe I Did is the kind of CD perfect for a quiet evening alone with a significant other. Put this disc in and as Billy Joel once said, you can Forget about life for awhile. In addition to the CD's 11 tracks, current pressings of Maybe I Did include two bonus tracks: live versions of Sunflower and a track called Forgive Me. For more info on Lisa Bodnar and to order Maybe I Did visit online at -

"Lisa Bodnar could be singing about a natural disaster, and we'd still be swooning at her feet"

What a sweet voice we have here. With such delicious singing Lisa Bodnar ( could be singing about a natural disaster, and we'd still be swooning at her feet. Actually, she does (the title track seems to be her response to Hurricane Katrina's devastation) and we do.

The sunny, jangling "Everything Under the Sun" already positions Bodnar as a well-tuned folkie, a cross between Suzanne Vega and Sheryl Crow but without the introverted depression of the former and the shallowness of the latter. "Everything Under the Sun" is about finding love after heartbreak. "The colors exploding/The details so clear," Bodnar sings, her voice brimming with newly found passion and a reinvigorated spirit. It's light and charming, pretty much capturing the flavor of the whole album. "Violins" begins more slowly then picks up speed as the intensity of Bodnar's feelings heighten. The music follows the lead of Bodnar's state of mind and not vice versa. When a feeling is awakened in her, such as on "What I Wanted," the beat follows suit.

At times, like on "What I Wanted" and "Myloverlookslikejesusandithinkivejustbeensaved," Bodnar leans toward rootsy Americana; on others, such as "Protect Your Children," Bodnar engages in straightforward adult rock. Both approaches are done well. You'll hear no complaints from this end.

The title cut is particularly powerful. "I'm gonna stand my ground/I won't let them keep me down," Bodnar cries in a song that is both a statement about Hurricane Katrina and the undying will within us all.
author: Adam Harrington
- Whisperin and Hollerin UK -

"Come Hell or High Water is a captivating, emotionally involving set of songs of love and loss."

Come Hell or High Water is not only a wonderful listen, but nice to look at as well. The paintings that grace the booklet and CD are dreamy and evocative, images of romance and transcendence throughout music amidst a chaotic, violent world. And certainly the blonde-haired Lisa Bodnar is fetching to the eyes, too. It’s rare to see an Americana disc that is so pleasing in its appearance.

However, what’s beneath the surface? Luckily for us Come Hell or High Water is a captivating, emotionally involving set of songs of love and loss. The subject matter is nothing new, but music is supposed to be universal; let’s keep the android experiments to the likes of Radiohead. Bodnar writes unpretentious pop songs with roots-rock, folk, and country seasonings.

Bodnar’s fragile, bittersweet vocals recall Sarah McLachlan at times, especially on the title track. But Bodnar’s music is blocks away from McLachlan’s alternative foundations. “You Stayed” reminds me of Lisa Loeb with its chilled-out acoustic guitars and plaintive yearning while “Myloverlookslikejesusandithinkivejustbeensaved” crosses the boundary between country and even Gospel, oddly enough.

Explore posts in the same categories: Kyrby Raine, The Kiosk (Pop/General Music), Music
This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 at 6:11 pm and is filed under Kyrby Raine, The Kiosk (Pop/General Music), Music. You can subscribe via RSS 2.0 feed to this post's comments. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
- Shotgun Reviews -


1. Maybe I Did

"All that stuff in your head and your heart that you are dying to say but can't get it out... just pop this CD in, push play and "feel the wind." This is a pop-rock listen for everyone. Superb songwriting met with incredible melodies."

2. Come Hell or High Water

On the Airwaves

Commercial Radio Stations: WDMT Wilkes-Barre, PA / WKAB Berwick, PA / KEAO Maui, HI / WTNE Martin, TN / KRAJ Ridgecrest, CA / KOJM Great Falls, MT / KKRB Klamath Falls, OR / KJEL Lebanon, MO / KDEL Arkadelphia, AR / KZWY Sheridan, WY / WHIZ Zaneville/Columbus, OH / KIXR Ponca City, OK / WWIS Black River Falls, WI / WSNU Lock Haven/Williamsport, PA / WOCO Oncoto/Green Bay, WI / WJST New Castle, PA / WCMT Martin, TN / KDBX Brookings, SD / KFAN Fredericksburg, TX/ KROK Leesville, LA / KZRC Bay City, TX / KZYR Avon, CO / WQNR Auburn, AL / WMWV Conway, NH / WUIN Wilmington, NC

Non-Commericial Radio Stations: KAXE Grand Rapids, MN / KDNK Carbondale, CO / KNBA Anchorage, AK / KKFL Kansas City, MO / KPCW Park City, UT / KMUD Redway, CA / KRCL Salt Lake City, UT / KPFT Houston, TX / KRVM Eugene, OR / KSLU Hammond, LA / KSMF Ashland, OR / KVNF Paonia, CO / KXCI Tucson, AZ / KZMU Moab, UT / WALW Moulton, AL / WBZC Pemberton, NJ / WDET Detroit, MI / WDIY Bethlehem, PA / WERU East Orland, ME / WFPK Louisville, KY / WJHS Columbia City, IN / WMFO Medford, MA / WMKY Morehead, KY / WMSV Mississippi State, MS / WNTI Hackettstown, NJ / WMNF Tampa, FL / WOLV Houghton, MI / WQRZ Bay Saint Louis, MS / WSGE Dallas, NC / WTMD Towson, MD / WXPN / Philadelphia

Specialty Shows: DMX Los Angeles, CA / RADIOIO.COM /NPR Fresh Air



Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, which includes Lisa Bodnar’s home city of Allentown, has certainly seen some trying times. Famously, the region has long faced the economic downturn brought on by the decline of its industries. But somehow the area’s managed to triumphantly emerge from the darkness—stronger and more resilient than before. Lisa, who’s endured some trying times of her own, has inherited some of that defiantly optimistic, won’t-be-beaten-down Lehigh Valley grit, weaving it into the moving, beautifully crafted songs that make up 40 Years in the Desert, her long-awaited third album.

“I’ve definitely been in a dark place at times,” says the singer-songwriter, who’s not only made it through the ups and downs of life and relationships and the unrelenting workaday grind most of us face, but also through a series of merciless floods that destroyed her home. “Somehow, I stayed positive. And I got some good songs out of it.”

Great songs, actually. The songs on 40 Years in the Desert—the album’s title inspired by a transformative trip to Joshua Tree National Park in California—are some of Lisa’s best. “Feeding Time,” a haunting, mid-tempo burner, was inspired by her dealings with the predatory sharks so common in the music and business worlds: “I don’t wanna be around / When it’s feeding time,” she sings with unwavering resolve. The twangy, country-pop ballad “Best That I Can” finds the songstress reflecting on “the one that got away” and is rich with imagery that’s both tactile and poetic: “Dog-eared pages in the Book of Job / I’m cleansing my conscience in a hotel robe.” But the album’s not all Brechtian bittersweetness: “I Love You Friend” is an upbeat, mariachi-flavored gem that captures the nervous warmth felt when friendship becomes something more.

“‘I Love You Friend’ came to me in a dream,” recalls Lisa. “When I woke up, I sang it into my phone so I wouldn’t forget it. It’s kind of a barroom tune, about looking across the floor at someone you’ve known and realizing you’re in love with them. And that you have to tell them, even though you’re not sure if it’ll work out.”

Born to violin-playing parents who met in their high school orchestra, Lisa began her lifelong love of music via her mother’s record collection. “The Eagles and all that other California music,” she says. “That’s what did it for me. A lot of soundtrack music, too.” Although she started on piano at age five, she was “always writing songs, as far back as I can remember. I just start playing…a melody will come to me, then maybe some lyrics. Or I’ll sort of carry around a melody in my head for a while and write lyrics to it. It’s really a perfect storm, when it all comes together like that.”

The perfect storm of Lisa’s musical career came together in the late 1990s and early 2000s locally and in Philadelphia, where she was a featured local artist on WXPN. Her debut, Maybe I Did, was released in 2003 to instant acclaim and even charted on college and triple-A radio (the disc was reissued with bonus tracks in 2005). In the mid-2000s, Lisa relocated to the New York area, where she recorded 2007’s glossier Come Hell or High Water. The sophomore set fared even better, garnering four Grammy nominations (Best New Artist; Best Pop Vocal Album; Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical; and Producer of the Year) and winning praise in the music and mainstream press.

“Bodnar sings with an undefeated strength of spirit in a voice that soars with hope and passion,” writes Dave Howell of The Morning Call, while Adam Harrington of says, “With such delicious singing Lisa Bodnar could be singing about a natural disaster, and we’d still be swooning at her feet.”

And now, after 12 years of steady gigging that’s included slots with Vapors of Morphine and other top acts, Lisa has reemerged with 40 Years in the Desert, a sparser, rawer affair than either of its predecessors.

“This one’s much more me,” says Lisa, who performs live with her electrifying band, Whistlegrass. “And for me, it’s all about the songs. I’ve always liked songs that really evoke a feeling, even if they make you cry. But mostly I want my songs to make people feel good, like they’ve been elevated. I want to take them away.”

And away we go. Wherever it is that Lisa Bodnar’s music takes them, listeners will love the ride.

Band Members