Lisa  Richards
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Lisa Richards

Canberra, Canberra, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Canberra, Canberra, Australia | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Solo Folk Neo Soul




"Reviews: Lady Gaga, Calypso Rose, Lisa Richards, Lazy Eye"

Lisa Richards


3.5 stars

Lisa Richards’s voice is delightfully unusual. At first it is jarring, piercing against the otherwise dulcet jazz, folk and bluesy feel emanating from her music, but slowly the timbre reveals its delicate duplicity. On the one hand Richards sounds like a sweet young girl who is trying to find her place in the world. On the other, she sounds commanding and confident. It makes for truly stimulating listening. Originally from far north Queensland, Richards spent 22 years in Austin and New York, released five albums and even received singing lessons from Mariah Carey’s mother, opera singer Patricia Hickey. Now she has returned to Australia to release her sixth studio album. A Light from the Other Side is a revelation, inspired by the breakdown of her 14-year marriage. Recorded in country Victoria with composer and producer Greg J. Walker (Paul Kelly, CW Stoneking), the album is a bittersweet mixture of optimism and anguish. The songs contain sensitive lyrics (“There’s a broken heart in every chest, there’s always one more reason to regret”), soothing melodies and a range of instrumentation. Even though they form a tightly woven narrative, each song is also strong on its own. Opener Frank Sinatra includes sharp mandolin strums and heaving brass elements that pulse to a tango rhythm. Milk and Honey could be the theme to a detective show, a sleuthing tune that resonates with plucked bass, fragile drums and crisp violins. Summer Afternoon is reflective, humming with violin sighs and delicate piano, whereas Where My Heart Used to Be is strident country-folk complete with banjo. Friends Out of Strangers is an uplifting final note about the kindness of strangers. Richards is a simple yet powerful songwriter who has beautifully encapsulated the intricacies of the human condition.

Emily Ritchie -

"Lisa Richards - 'A Light From the Other Side'"

Singer Songwriter for FNQ returns to Australia after 22 years in Austin and New York to make her best album, her 6th, with Greg J. (Machine Translations) Walker producing and playing most of the instruments.

Lisa uses her well-trained, unusual voice and interesting way of putting words together in this album which documents the breakdown of her longtime relationship and her establishment of a new one. -

"Lisa Richards Returns To Her Roots With Luminous New Album A Light From The Other Side"

It’s been a long journey for Townsville-via-the US singer/songwriter Lisa Richards. She has enough stories to last a lifetime but has compiled the most compelling into her sixth studio album ‘A Light From The Other Side’.

Coloured by her sudden separation and divorce after 14 years of marriage to Texas Musician, A Light From the Other Side is about her journey. Losing everything, living out of a suitcase, falling in love again, surprisingly, and resettling in Canberra, Australia.

“The album title is a reference to my last CD ‘Beating of the Sun’. It’s a nod to the fact that I moved to the other side of the world, a nod to me living in the light on the other side of the nightmare.” Says Richards

To bring this collection of deeply personal songs to life Richards sought out multi-instrumentalist, composer, song-writer and producer Greg J. Walker (Paul Kelly, C.W. Stoneking, Jess Ribiero) after falling in love with his musical side project, Machine Translations. One musical getaway to Walker’s East Gippsland studio later and the pair had forged a firm melodious connection.

I loved working with Greg. We basically made the recording over 5 months and 3 trips to his studio of a week each and lots of hightail files and emails. He lives near this little country town in Victoria and I stayed in a little cottage nearby.” Says Richards “Not only is Greg a truly talented producer he is also a wonderful musician. I played guitar, sang and also played a little thumb piano and toy piano and Greg played everything else.”

What emerged from these sessions was an album that is as diverse as it is personal. From stories about her teenage step kids to rediscovering her life in Australia the only thing that stays consistent is the heartfelt emotion instilled in Richard’s fiercely unique voice.

A powerful story is invaluable to successful song writing and this is none more evident than in ‘A Light From the Other Side’. Within its confines lies heartfelt emotion combined with exemplary musicianship which creates a truly stunning piece of narrative art.

Lisa Richards will be touring Australia in support of her new album through October. See all the dates below alongside a full stream of her album. -

"WCVE-FM Radio, 2006"

"Lisa Richards has one of the most expressive and unique voices I've ever encountered in the 21 years I've hosted this show. Couldn't wait to hear her new disc and share it with my audience."
G. Maida
The Electric Croude
WCVE-FM - George Maida

"Austin American Statesman 10/19/06"

Thursday October 19, 2006
With a stunning, crystal clear voice, this new Austin resident (from Australia via New York City) creates an evocative mood piece on her fourth album. Recorded in Brooklyn, N.Y., with Tim Bright and in Austin with Craig Ross, "Mad Mad Love" sounds immaculately conceived, a big production sound untouched by major label dollars. The merger of Lou Reed's "Satellite Of Love" into the title track is especially exquisite.
The record derails slightly when Richards switches to rock mode on "Whose Chain" in the fourth slot. I would've let the ethereality roll on a little longer before tamping on Edie Brickell and the Cranberries territory. Her cover of the blues number "Rags and Old Iron" makes more sense, draining the down and dirty out of the ditty with her pristine pipes. If you've become a fan of Corrine Bailey Rae and want a slice of that sweet, slinky soul a little closer to home, try out this one at the listening station.
— Michael Corcoran - Michael Corcoran

"WIOJ AM 1010, 8/18/06"

Friday, August 18, 2006
Lisa Richards, Mad Mad Love. A Review.??Several years ago, I had a chance to see Aussie actress Nichole Kidman bring to life the lovable literary character Bridgette Jones. For those of you who've not seen the flick or read the book, Brigette Jones is a  British girl who's incurably cute, but wants with fervent desperation to be a mystifying sex goddess. The comedy comes from watching the bumbling girl stumble from sitch to sitch, trying to be sultry, but always coming off as more gut-chucking cute and vulnerable. This flick bubbled up to the surface of my memory while listening to the latest pitch from another Aussie named Lisa Richards. ??Though Richards doesn't "bumble" through a single cut on this CD, her unusual voice is packed with that same mix of urgent desire and vulnerability. ?With hints of Bjork, Michelle Tumes, Shona Lainge and Nathalie Merchant, she combines a brew of roots and pop for its own sake in a modest twelve cuts that command more than a casual listen. Yeah, I know- all the emo-bashers are rolling their eyes and making crude comments as I shovel all this hyperbole. But this isn't your typical emo. It's surprisingly whine-free and stays out of the self-pity pit. Instead, you get the elegant optimism of "Victoria," to the bluesy "Rags and Old Iron." She has the precocious insight of Suzane Vega, but with a touch of torchy Nora Jones. What made the world want to give Brigette Jones a hug will make you want to listen to this CD over and over again. ??Available at: itunes, Amazon, CDbaby, and Hearmusic. ?Listen for "Victoria" on The Spot!
- John Maycumber WIOJ AM 1010 Music and Promotions, Jacksonville FL

"Americana UK 10/10/07"

Lisa Richards was raised on the tropical north Eastern Coast of Australia - as the youngest of seven children she absorbed the sounds of her mother’s talent as a gifted, classically trained pianist. The house was filled with music, but tragedy struck when Lisa was seven years old when her mother was seriously hurt in a car accident. Listening to this record you can hear where Richards has pushed herself to follow in her mum’s footsteps.??Richards began performing on the streets in Australia in the less salubrious areas of Sydney, built up a healthy fan base and in the early 90s moved to New York – playing many famous venues her reputation has grown and she has now moved to Austin.??For this record, her fourth release, some fine musicians contribute throughout; the opening song ‘Bloom’ clearly shows that Richards can write songs with strong melodies and thoughtful lyrics. Next up is a fine cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Satellites’. The song writing throughout is of the top order and the title track is a clear demonstration of Richards' song writing strengths. ??This is a superb collection of songs and if you have any Lucinda Williams, Rosie Thomas or Mary Chapin Carpenter records in your collection then this record is for you.
 andy riggs
   - Americana UK

"whisperinandhollerin 12/11/07"

She's taken some knocks along the way, has Aussie-born, Texas-based singer/ songwriter LISA RICHARDS. Despite spending her formative years surrounded by the beauty of north eastern Australia, Lisa's idyllic life was shattered when a horrific car accident left her classically-trained pianist mother severely brain damaged.

Such a traumatic experience would be enough to send anyone bandy, but later on it was the catalyst in Lisa beginning to create her own music, and - like fellow W&H Aussie fave Perry Keyes - she began by plying her trade in and around Sydney's tough King's Cross area: a stone's throw from the city's red light district, often singing a capella.

A move to New York City and enrolment playing club gigs in staple venues such as The Bitter End, Cafe Sin E and CBGB'S further sharpened Lisa's abilities and since that time - and meeting husband Jeff May and moving to Austin, Texas - she's released three acclaimed, self-released albums.

New record 'Mad Mad Love' again finds Lisa untainted by big label moguls, but recording with a wealth of talent such as producer/ guitarist Tim Bright, drummer Dan Rieser (Norah Jones), bassist Tim Luntzel (Bright Eyes) and Dido's keyboard player John Deley. Pretty impressive stuff, whichever way you slice it.

Despite Richards' Texan base, though, 'Mad Mad Love' doesn't really kowtow to any Americana expectations. It was recorded in various sessions around NYC, Portchester NY and Austin and proffers numerous stylistic handshakes, with loops, beats and textures often as prevalent as slide guitars, wafts of pedal steel and gritty Delta-isms.

And sometimes, this is ideal. Opener 'Bloom' reeks of positivity lyrically ("Bloom like a flower, reachin' for the sun/ waitin' for the chance to see the good in everyone") and weighs in as a memorably confident pop song. Lisa's voice, though, may be a bone of contention for some: while she's clearly hugely talented, she's capable of going from twee and little girly through to fulsome and throaty, sometimes in the space of a song - as she does on 'Bloom'. It can be a little disorienting and when she pushes the girliness a little too hard (as on her fairly redundant cover of Lou Reed's 'Satellite of Love') is can all sound like a Bjork too far.

Occasionally, too, it can all get a bit too Dido, like on 'Victoria', which tries for "windblown" and "experienced", but ultimately sounds too forced and shoehorned into a pop format. On the other hand, when she does pop and does it well, it can yield real results, like on 'Dance', where producer Billy Masters (Suzanne Vega, Dar Williams) adds lazy, trip-hop beats, wicked Chris Isaak-style guitar and plenty of space for Lisa to open up.

Elsewhere, though, 'Mad Mad Love' sounds utterly divine, not least when Lisa gets down and dirty on tunes like the chokin' harmonica and driving blues-rock of 'Daddy Please' and her fantastic cover of Oscar Brown Jr's 'Rags And Old Iron'. Most of us probably best remember Nina Simone's version of this latter, but Richards stamps her feisty identity on it in no uncertain terms (part Lucinda Williams, part Eartha Kitt) and the strings, piano and N'Awlins funeral drums lift it to heaven with panache to spare.

Crucially, she also keeps quality in reserve for the record's home strait, too. The wracked acoustism of 'Why?' is stripped back and hugely effective, letting Lisa's coffee house roots show, while closing track '4:22' caters for both title and song title. With Jeff May's evocative howls of pedal steel for company, it's another one that flirts with roots-rock, but ultimately it's the tune's self-made sparseness that really scores.

Overall, Lisa Richards is - like Victoria Williams - perhaps something of an acquired taste, and the sheer elasticity of her vocal abilities ensures she may not provide you with an instant appeal. However, like many slow-burning relationships, repeated assignations with 'Mad Mad Love' may well lead to fierce, unbridled passion. It's certainly worth the dalliance to find out.

author: Tim Peacock

- Tim Peacock

"MAZZMUSIKAS 07/08/07"

Lisa Richards / Mad Mad Love / Eigen Beheer LR004 Het is al langer bekend: Austin heeft iets dat geen enkele andere stad ter wereld lijkt te hebben. Wat het precies is, daar is nog niemand echt achter gekomen. Wat er het gevolg van is, daar zijn we ’t met zijn allen over eens: Austin heeft het grootste aantal singer-songwriters per vierkante kilometer. Dat is leuk: het scherpt de competitie tussen de dames en heren onderling aan en het brengt met zich, dat ze allemaal hun uiterste best doen om hun eigen stad en de rest van de wereld te laten vallen voor hun muziek. Tegelijk zit er ook een gevaar aan: luisteraars raken al snel verzadigd en willen wel eens de reactie hebben van ‘Weer eentje uit Austin? OK…en?’. Als dit gevoel ons al ooit mocht bekropen hebben, dan was dat allerminst het geval toen we deze cd van Lisa Richards binnen kregen. Lisa groeide op aan de Australische noordoostkust, verkaste in de prille jaren ’90 van vorige eeuw naar New York en belandde in Austin om er op SXSW te spelen. Dat deed ze en ze deed zelfs meer: ze liep er Jeff May tegen het lijf. Zes maand later waren ze getrouwd. Vandaag is Lisa aan haar vierde plaat toe, ze haalde eerder dit jaar de finales zowel op Telluride als op Kerville en ze pakte ondergetekende volledig in met haar prachtige stem en haar simpele liedjes. Denk aan een kruising tussen Suzanne Vega, Cassandra Wilson en Patty Griffin en je komt aardig in de buurt van wat Lisa doet. Haar songs zijn, zoals dat hoort, kleine observaties over ’s mensen gedrag en worden hier meer dan vakkundig van schakeringen en kleuren voorzien door topmuzikanten als John Deley (die we kennen van bij Dido), Dan Rieser (Norah’s drummer en één van de Little Willies) en Craig Ross, de rechterhand van Patty Griffin. Tien eigen songs en twee covers, dat is de vangst voor wie deze cd in huis haalt. De eigen songs zijn verrassend in hun valse eenvoud: je kunt ze haast bijna onmiddellijk mee neuriën, maar elke keer dat je luistert, ontdek je weer een nieuw loopje of een detail dat je eerder ontgaan was. Whose Chain, onze absolute favoriet van de plaat is er zo eentje: keer op keer worden we verrast door alweer een detail, een schakering, een ritmebreak, waar we nog geen oor naar gehad hadden. De covers liggen allerminst voor de hand, maar zijn beide erg geslaagd: Lou Reeds Satellite Of Love en Nina Simones Rags & Old Iron horen zeker bij de hoogtepunten van een overigens zo goed als vlekkeloze plaat. Ik denk zo dat we er een opdracht bij hebben: dringend op zoek naar het vroegere werk van deze dame, die ooit heel groot gaat worden. (DH)

- Mazzmusikas

"Austin Daze Oct/Nov 2006"

Lisa Richards
“Mad Mad Love”
2006 Independently Released
Score = 8.5

Lisa Richards has been quite a traveler, starting her career in Australia and then taking it to New York City. But fortunately for us, this Aussie now calls Austin home. As soon as I pressed “play,” I knew this artist could join ranks with the best talent in our town.
“Mad Mad Love” is a sweet wonderful thing. The first thing that hits you is her unique and expressive voice. Initially you will want to compare her to Macy Gray, Kate Bush, Bjork, or perhaps Eartha Kitt. Then you begin to realize that Lisa Richards really has her own thing going, and any comparisons become futile. With an uncanny ability to be silly and feather-light, and disciplined and refined at the same time, she is definitely a singer’s singer. She can also switch gears on a few bluesy songs and lean in a very natural Bonnie Raitt direction.
In “Mad Mad Love” she showcases that spectacular and versatile voice with 12 well- written and thought provoking songs. The production is far beyond it’s budget for an independent artist, and the talent along for the ride is superb. Lyrics range from story telling to the abstract, with plenty of imagery and emotional pull. This CD exhibits the experience and confidence few singer songwriters have. - Maria Mesa

"Texas Platters / Girlie Action. Feb 23rd 2007"

Richards wrote 10 of the dozen songs on her local debut CD, Mad Mad Love, a charming grab bag of folky pop that turns on a dime to bluesy rock enhanced by the tough sweetness of her voice. - Austin Chronicle


  • A Light From the Other Side- Full Length CD 2016
  • Beating of the Sun - Full Length CD
  • Mad Mad Love - Full Length CD
  • Not Quite So Low - Full length CD
  • Undergroundling - Full length CD
  • Fragments of Truth - Full length CD



In the tradition of  songwriters, singers and solo street performers through the ages...from Fado to Bluegrass to Blues, Lisa knows her songs and her voice are a challenge to classify. Over the years vocal comparisons to a number of singers have been thrown around Eartha Kitt, Annie Lennox, Lucinda Williams, Billie Holiday, Bjork, Duffy, Iris Dement, Joni Mitchell and Bettye Lavette........."

She has shared the stage with a diverse group of artists...Toni Childs, Jefferson Starship, Michelle Shocked, Chris Whitley, Monte Montgomery, Tab Benoit (Louisiana Blues guitarist), Jimmy La Fave, Slaid Cleaves, Suzanna Choffel, Butch Hancock, Wendy Colonna. Her songs were featured on a Warner Bros Compilation CD sandwiched between Adele and Corinne Bailey Rae. She has performed at a number of festivals including Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Merlefest, SXSW, CMJ Music Festival and  Kerrville Folk Festival.

**** (4 stars)”a tour de force of unflinching and honest writing with arresting arrangements based on folk, blues and European chanson styles...a strikingly original and beautiful album.”
David Costello Brisbane Courier Mail

“Lisa Richards’ fifth release is an absolutely riveting piece. Her lyrics are well crafted and insightful, allowing you to dive inside her thoughts and envision everything she has.” Chelsea Deeley

“With subject matter that swings from the extraordinarily evocative title track to a couple of songs inspired byJenna Blum’s book about The Holocaust, Those Who Save Us, I can’t help feeling that Lisa Richards is a writer and musician who should be already way better known. This is a really good album, original, thoughtful and very beautiful – a grower, if ever there was one.” John Davy No Depression

“singer/songwriter Lisa Richards carves out her own touching and fascinating corner of the musical universe on her latest album. There’s an astounding individuality not only to Richards’ uniquely sweet and tremulous vocals, but also in her concise and thoughtful songwriting.” Joe Wawrzyniak Jerseybeat 

Band Members