Lisa Cerbone

Lisa Cerbone

 Westminster, Maryland, USA
BandFolkSinger/Songwriter

Indie music in the spirit of Iron & Wine, The Innocence Mission, and Mark Kozelek. Moving lyrics with a dreamy, acoustic-based sound.

Biography

Content with following her own muse, the independent-minded singer/songwriter Lisa Cerbone has quietly built a strong body of work since the 90’s. Lisa, also a full-time mother of two and a former teacher, has always made a conscious effort to create music for the love of art and writing. In her new collection of songs, she continues this quest, while also balancing motherhood with her songwriting craft. Recorded when her children were at school, or asleep late at night; and written during the edges of her days, she has created another intimate and lovely recording.

Lisa’s fourth recording, We Were All Together (Ocean Music, 2008), is her newest work to date. A spare, hushed collection, We Were All Together, peels back layers to explore love, loss, and family bonds. Her sometimes melancholic, yet highly literate lyrics are buoyed by uplifting melodies and Lisa’s sweet, graceful vocals. Her acoustic finger-style guitar-playing reference older influences like Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Young; while the velvety textures and minimalist approach reference newer indie influences such as Maria Taylor and the Great Lake Swimmers. Lisa’s particular gift is the humanity and wisdom that belies the subtle nature of the songs, making the listening experience a rewarding one full of meaning.

In 2003, Lisa worked with musician and producer Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon, Red House Painters) on her third release, Ordinary Days. From this experience, Lisa learned to shape a more authentic, organic musical landscape and to explore mood to better complement her delicate voice and poetic themes. On We Were All Together, the songs explore these ideas even further. All the musical and lyrical elements work sparingly together to speak of those things that sometimes go unsaid but are frequently felt by all, bringing the listener in close. Since many of the songs were written after the loss of Lisa’s father to cancer, Lisa’s songs prove to be a more personal outing than those of the past, yet at the same time, continue to cover universal ground (“Tiny Patch of Earth”, “Change the Ending”). Still, there is also a whimsical quality found in songs inspired by her children (“Mia Noelle”, “Humming”, and “You Are So Loved”). These songs masterfully exemplify the redemptive nature of life she explores. Whether the songs are joyful, or melancholic, or anywhere in between, at the forefront of Lisa’s work is an attempt to hold onto fleeting moments with love and hope.

Adding to the beauty of the recording were some of Baltimore’s finest musicians. Frank Marchand III (The Thermals, Bob Mould) added his expertise on producing and engineering, Brian “Jonesy” Jones (Telesma) played upright and electric bass, Warren Roes (Almighty Senators) played electric guitar, and David Durst, a composer in his own right, added keyboards. Lisa played guitars, glockenspiel, keyboards, and percussion, which rounding out the luminous recording with her signature sound.

Along with Lisa’s work in the studio, Lisa has also toured France, Portugal, Canada, and the United States. She has earned two WAMMIES (DC area GRAMMIES) for best alternative female vocalist, and has had her music chosen to be on Network TV shows and movies. Her music has garnered wide critical praise in the states and in Europe from press and music lovers alike. She has also had the opportunity to perform with Ben Harper, The Cowboy Junkies, and Patty Griffin.

Lisa currently resides in rural Maryland with her husband and two children. She plans to tour Europe and the US in 2008 and continues crafting her songs of timeless beauty.

Lyrics

Sweep Your Hair From Your Eyes

Written By: Lisa Cerbone

sweep your hair from your eyes

Water stain on the ceiling. Wind rattles the windows and walls. Nobody knows where she is and if they did, they probably wouldn't call. Sweep your hair from your eyes. The new days have just arrived. She's not sure if she will make it here where the shades aren't drawn. She hears them speaking about her, concerned voices behind that old, oak door. Sweep your hair from your eyes. The new days have just arrived. Not what you'd hope for. Not what you'd choose. Staring up at the sky, waiting for the appearance of the moon. But this could be the thing that makes you free and clear. Sweep you hair from your eyes. The new days have just arrived.

Ordinary Days

Written By: Lisa Cerbone

As I walk away. I'm struck by the ordinary day. Girl in white. Twirls against the blue of the sky. Far from shame. Far from blame. Far from where she came. As I walk away. I'm struck by the ordinary day. Spanish boy. Runs along the train tracks with a dog. Far from shame. Far from blame. Far from where he came. As I walk away. I'm struck by the ordinary day. I carry you underneath the stars shining in your room. Far from shame. Far from blame. This is where you came.

Only Good Thoughts, My Love

Written By: Lisa Cerbone

i'm running after all the rapture. cloak me in your questions and mysteries. I want to see your pale, blue eyes coming out of red light. where you are is where i want to be. i want to hear your glow pressed in shadows removed. will you bring mercy? take away the walls of grief? you see my hands are not clean from shame. scatter yourself in my dark heart and pull out the arrows of my disgraces. where you are is where i want to be. i want to feel your glow pressed in shadows removed. when the nightmare falls asleep, is it you who shuts it's eyes. how? where you are is where i want to be. i want to hear your glow pressed in shadows removed saying only good thoughts, my love.

Swallowing Stones

Written By: Lisa Cerbone

Aimless and tired. Wandered around in your own fire. Even in the distance. You can't will the winter away. You swallowed the stones. Heart is so heavy. Can't carry it to the one who is at the top of the stairs. Even in the distance, you can't will the winter away. You swallowed the stones. She told me that when you swallow stones. They settle within where they carve the home. Well, I want to know. Will they stay forever? Will they stay forever? Even in the distance, you can't will the winter away. You swallowed the stones.

Change the Ending

Written By: Lisa Cerbone

When your body turned on itself, I like to think you’re an angel moving towards someplace else. The beautiful faces you drew out of the clouds tricked me into thinking you would be coming back. How can I change the ending in my mind? There are things that only exist between you and me, but now that I’m alone, I am not sure what I have seen. Silence and sighs. Thick throat of tears that cannot be cried. You come to me in dreams where we don’t need reason. How can I change the ending in my mind?

Humming

Written By: Lisa Cerbone

Humming Toward the Darkness

We go humming towards the darkness where you say nighttime is all over the sky. I can’t promise there is nothing to fear going up these hills we’re on. We’re around the corner from white horses. I see the face I know anywhere. Past the paper snowflake windows, your eyes are alert, so quick, then gone, disappeared. I fear that I let you
down. I don’t want to let you down.

Tiny Patch of Earth

Written By: Lisa Cerbone

Half –asleep, you carry me up the stairs. When I looked down, I felt so high in the air. Stars and moon make a strange glow on the walls of my room. You are here. There’s no fear on our tiny patch of earth. You loom large for me. The back of your tractor, everything is marigolds and green. Your strong back faces me. The sun reveals everything. Our long shadows prove we are here, we are here on this tiny patch of earth. Where you loom large for me.

My hand holds yours as it used to hold mine. My strength is not of your kind. Strangers repeat what I refuse to know. Did you see me as you go from our tiny patch, our tiny patch of earth? Where you loom large for me.

Discography

We Were All Together (2008)
Ordinary Days
Mercy
Close Your Eyes

Set List

I perform all original songs. Sets can be as long or as short as needed. I do a few covers, but they are redone in my own style.