liz tormes
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liz tormes

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""Darkness Has Been a Friend To Me""

"Strains of Britpop, garage rock and country slyly slink through Tormes' sparse, gothic-leaning debut. The NYC-by-way-of-Nashville singer-songwriter possesses a gorgeous, soulful voice that at times recalls Margo Timmins, with a little more sugar and less smoke. "Darkness has been a friend to me," Tormes sings on the disc-ending "Fade Away", and by that point, you know she ain't joking. The use of Wurlitzer through-out adds to the appeal of the album on such songs as "Without Truth" and the title track. The three songs featuring Teddy Thompson on guest vocals are highlights, especially the stripped-down and emotionally potent "Maybe You Won't". Amy Helm of Ollabelle adds sweet harmonizing on the dreamy 'Better Days' ". - No Depression

""Timeless Recording" - Harp Magazine"

"The world seems to be filled with talented female singer-songwriters, but ones that sure-handedly also self-produce themselves are rare. Manhattan denizen Liz Tormes does just that on her debut album...Tormes sings in a straightforward, totally unaffected manner, cutting through the darkness with an unusual dose of honesty and simplicity and making this a timeless recording...It's the sound of this disc that will really captivate the listener: its idiosyncratic, spooky atmospherics would make Daniel Lanois, T Bone Burnett or Joe Henry smile with pride." - HARP MAGAZINE

""Less Murderous Nick Cave" - Long Island Press"

Even though the talents of this East Village-by-way-of-Nashville singer-songwriter merited her roping Teddy Thompson and Ollabelle's Amy Helm into appearing on her debut, Tormes has enough musical skills to carry her own project. Coupled with material with hints of the Velvet Underground's gauzier moments and a less murderous Nick Cave, Tormes has the kind of airy vocal style that falls somewhere between Jenny Lewis and Neko Case. And while this title cut has a Mazzy Star-ish vibe, it doesn't quite float into the ether; instead shimmering Wurlitzer runs are accented by a lightly strummed guitar and a vocal style considerably warmer than anything Hope Sandoval has done.
- Long Island Press

""Emotional, but Unsentimental""

Wisdom and a kind of innocence exist side-by-side in Liz Tormes's voice and in her songs. Her emotional but unsentimental sketches of the vagaries of love are clearly personal, but they conjure up feelings that are sadly familiar, although we may have mercifully forgotten the details. On LimelightTormes provides just enough of her own to gently probe the leaps of faith and logic that people employ to make unwise and sometimes dangerous connections. On this self-produced debut, her lovely, hypnotic voice proves the ideal vehicle to explore the mysterious territories of heart and soul.

Tormes spins her haunting tales with the help of some great New York musicians and singers and a wide range of rhythmic feel. It's worth noting that her contribution to her first band was not songs or singing, but her "innate sense of musical timing." The CD's title track is a lilting country waltz sung like a whispery spell, while "Black Luck" is an eerie dirge floating over Tormes's mournful musings on a relationship's demise. "Better Days" is a sweet shuffle distinguished by melancholy harmonies from Amy Helm and "Fall Silent" sports military-style drums and a cool bass line from Dan Green. On "Maybe You Won't" Tormes's percussive guitar provides the only accompaniment to her edgy vocal duet with Teddy Thompson.

Tormes plays acoustic guitar and keyboards in the band that includes Jason Crigler, whose electric guitar punctuates the messages, starting with his first circling, then soaring turn on "Read My Mind." Tormes sings unflinchingly and her melodies always mirror the emotions they describe. And within her elegant lyrics lies much simple wisdom: "So face the wind/And stay on track/Stop loving things/that don't love back. " You could pay a lot of shrink money for such good advice.
- Elmore Magazine

"Far from the limelight, the darkness holds sway"

A hollow-eyed and knowing face looks out from the cover of “Limelight”. It’s a face that promises knowledge of shadows rather than light, a face that belies the album title. As with the picture, so with the music. In said title track, a bitter kiss-off to an ex-lover, the delicacy of the playing and tune belie the cutting words, and Tormes builds on this with “Maybe You Won’t”, on which Teddy Thompson makes his first appearance and she sings “happiness is fleeting” over a choppy acoustic guitar. Good though these songs are they are but hors d-oeuvres to the album centrepiece “Black Luck”. Six minutes of intense, brooding darkness encapsulated in the verse “When I heard the key in the latch/he said “your eyes are black as hell”/and I replied “that’s just as well/I’ve got a heart to match” Tormes’ guitar shimmers softly in the background while she intones the vocals as though she’s in church. It’s a mesmerising and haunting performance that makes it almost impossible to listen to the rest of the album, as its memory overshadows everything else. If you persevere though you’ll discover “Better Days” swinging along with a hint of hope, albeit not unconditional, and closer “Fade Away” (“This darkness has been a friend to me”) which encapsulates her Janus-esque darkness and light...This is an impressive piece of work. Carving out a place for herself somewhere between Nick Cave and Lal Waterson Liz Tormes is definitely one to watch. - American UK


Limelight- EP



Chapter One - An Auspicious Beginning
Liz moved from Nashville to NYC with a camera, a dog named Loretta, a bunny named Ola Belle and a boy who shall remain nameless (forever, so don't ask). Jack-knifing her Jeep in the Black Mountains at midnight (carrying said dog and bunny and nearly killing them all) while hauling her belongs behind her did nothing to deter her from the move. Said boy had the foresight to fly to the city. True story.
Once in Gotham City, she was suckered by said boy into a weekly gig playing rhythm guitar in his unorthodox string band. To appreciate the absurdity of the situation, you should know that Liz was not a musician, but had been recruited into the band for her innate sense of musical timing ("These Yankees don't have any sense of rhythm!", screamed frustrated said boy) . Not knowing how to finger chords, she stuck a playing card between the neck and the strings of an old junk-store guitar, laying down a raw backbeat. The band began to get a bit of a buzz. They landed on the cover of the Arts section of The New York Times, but all was not well behind the scenes. Liz quickly left the frustrated boy and sadly, the band. She took with her the camera, the dog, (and this time, an archtop guitar!!) - moving from one overpriced apartment in SoHo to another overpriced apartment in the East Village. Bunny Ola Belle is buried illegally somewhere on Sullivan Street . True story - don't tell anyone.
Missing the weekly gig (and the free drink tickets) Liz began to teach herself guitar and started singing and writing songs about said boy (the first song, anyway). She was asked by pianist Bob Packwood to start a band and they recruited fiddler Diane Stockwell. They covered early roots songs, murder ballads, and other uplifting numbers. They called themselves 'The Misery Trio' - go figure. Alas, it was short lived, as Liz started writing lots of songs about her very own miseries and the trio thing (though amazing) became a little confining.

Chapter Two - A Scorcher and a Wilco-er
Over a period of time while out and about in the bars of the East Village, repeated runs ins with her friend from Nashville, Ken Coomer (drummer for Wilco at the time), kept happening. Though her knew her as a photographer, he would inquire what she had been up to during those odd run-ins. "I have actually started playing music", Liz sheepishly replied. This led to Ken eventually inviting her to his Nashville home to record. She recorded several songs in his attic and living room with him & Jeff Johnson (of Jason and the Scorchers). Liz signed a production deal with the two and thought she was on the fast-track to stardom. Aside from having one song placed in an indie film screened only in France and Germany (seriously, it did show there), this went nowhere.

Chapter Three - Still with us?
Bueno! After spending a couple uneventful years playing gigs around town, Liz realized she would have to make a record on her own. She recorded it in Brooklyn with some amazing players and released it on her own, silk-screening the cover in her over-priced East Village kitchen and burning the CD-R's in her bedroom in the wee hours with help of Loretta the Dog (yes, she was thanked on the liner notes) This record is called Limelight. You need it and will love it. True story.