Liz Toussaint
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Liz Toussaint

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Americana Country




"The next to Blow"

Liz Toussant is another wonderful performer who has been performing for crowds around Chicago and has gotten rave reviews for her unique style of music. She labels her sound country soul. Yes, that’s right, country soul is the new sound she brings to her mostly black audiences, but she has performed and been saluted by white audiences when she rocks up north. You can see Liz sport her cowboy hat, tight jeans and rodeo boots on June 22nd at DuSable Museum for the NNPA awards dinner. - Carl West

"Rissi Palmer/Liz Toussaint"

Insight News
Dwight Hobbes, arts columnist

Rissi Palmer this, Rissi Palmer that and Rissi Palmer the other thing. From here to there and back Essence, Jet, Newsweek, VH1, you
name it) Palmer has been touted as the first black woman to hit
Billboard's Hot Country chart since Dona Mason's "Green Eyes (Cryin'
Those Blue Tears)" made it to number at No. 62 in 1987. Which, yes, on the face of things, sounds like quite an accomplishment. However, you want to bear in mind that the record charts - in all genres - have plenty of artists on them that are worth listening to. Also it's not an unheard of practice for under-the-table payments to
secure a chart listing. Now, I am not -- I repeat not -- accusing
Palmer or her representatives of greasing anyone with payola: the
point simply is that the charts are no guaranteed indicator of
quality. Ultimately, it behooves one to keep his or her head on their shoulders before getting swept up by Rissi-mania. Especially since there are artists in country music - including Black women --
who sing and write rings around Rissi Palmer. For instance, grab the
kind of industry muscle Palmer has behind her and put it behind genuine talent like L.A.'s Lori Lynette Black or Chicago's Liz
Toussaint and you'll find yourself asking Rissi who? KOCH-distributed 1720 Entertainment hooked her up with name producers for her debut album, Rissi Palmer. The likes of Keith Thomas (Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood), Dan Shea (Martina McBride, Mariah Carey), Cory Rooney (Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Lopez) and Shannon Sanders (Randy Travis, Lyle Lovett, India Arie. Such names are bound to bring attention to a project, resulting in the sort of insider buzz that naturally gets the interest of national publications and radio stations. No matter how well you do or do not perform.
Take "Country Girl", first single off the October-released Rissi Palmer.
It's formulaic plastic-pop cornpone delivered with all the heart and soul of a department store bannequin. Laden with clichéd "down-home" lyrics and
perky, aw-shucks-I'm-just-folks warbling, the offering completely lacks something basic: true feeling - a staple by which country music, you do realize, was born and bred. On the other hand, Lori Lynette Black's easy-going essence is about a lot less sizzle and much more steak. Hers is a warm feel with a wry touch to it and fire fueled by a clear love of what
she's doing. Highlights from the album Absence of Color give you, among other irresistible turns, "His Love's Not Real" and "One Last Kiss", showcasing Black's trademark sound - lucid and relaxed, real sweet singing.
Liz Toussaint gets you with country grit made to move your hips, pulling you up off your rusty-dusty and onto the dance floor before you hardly know what
hit you. Actually, it's driven by R&B underpinnings that show you what The Dixie Chicks were aiming at. The title cut alone, "Country Soul", tells it all. Toussaint takes the genre to the last place anyone would expect it to wind up - kicking like a country mule, strutting like a Broadway hoochie-mama and belting like nobody's business, sweet and sassy as the day
is long. So, you have an industry-generated event winning out over honed artistry. It might not be so bad if we could look forward to even a Rissi Palmer widening
the way for others. Black, Toussaint, Miko Marks and others certainly ought to be able to benefit. But, you know how white folk like to let one token in as a sign of just how open and fair minded they are and then slam the door in everyone else's face. We'll just have to see how it goes. And in the meantime, sit still for all this hoopla over Rissi Palmer.
- Insight News

"Music Legends Hailed by NNPA"

Originally posted 6/28/2005

Honored were R&B singer, Syleena Johnson, Blues man, Gene “Daddy G” Barge, and Chicago native Guss Redmond of the Chicago Blues Museum.
During the night, the crowd was entertained by Country-Soul singer Liz Toussaint, who brought the crowed to their feet, with her version of country Western and singer Johnny P, who took the crowd back to its roots with his rendition of “A Change is Gonna Come,” first made famous by Sam Cook.

Said Lindsay: “The entertainment for the night was wonderful. I never thought I would enjoy country music, but the country singer really got me standing to my feet.”
- by Makebra D. Anderson/New York Beacon

"The Big Takeover > top-ten"

by Chris Stroffolino
18 June 2006

Liz Toussaint
Yes, you can actually meet good musicians on MySpace, and Liz Toussaint, is one of them. She characterizes herself as country-soul (citing Anita Baker and Kenny Rogers as her musical parents, but to these ears she’s better than both. She definitely utilizes aspects of contemporary overproduced soul-pop, but they are tempered with a rootsy guitar based gospel funk that gives it the edge over most slick productions. Check her out at toussaint (and her new album, which has just been released June 10th

- by Chris Stroffolino

"City Born, Country Drawn"

Liz Toussaint, set to release an album this summer, hid her love for country music from friends while growing up in the Englewood neighborhood, then had to overcome the opposition of her brother as well as club owners who would not accept a black country singer. (Tribune photo by Phil Velasquez / May 11, 2009)

Growing up in Englewood, Liz Toussaint straddled a musical divide.

"In front of my friends, we listened to Biggie Smalls and Tupac," she recently recalled, sliding into a stage whisper. "I never told anybody that at home I was listening to the Dixie Chicks."

Toussaint's crush on country began on her family's summer road trips, when that high, lonesome sound was all their station wagon's radio could dial in. Once back home, the teenager kept quiet about the passion she felt would ostracize her, and country music was a cultural curse made worse by the fact that Toussaint was a promising pop singer, performing alongside a young Jennifer Hudson.

"You're supposed to be Mary J. Blige, a hip-hop queen," her brother Mustafa Abdullah remembers telling Toussaint when she first informed him that her heart ached not for Nas but Nashville.

"No," Abdullah pleaded with her, pointing out that the family had a musical pedigree to maintain: He works as a popular Chicago hip-hop DJ, and uncle Allen Toussaint is a well-known R&B pianist.

"You cannot do country music!"

But Toussaint couldn't help it.

"I was dead-set: I'm not singing unless I'm singing country," the now-30-year-old Toussaint said recently, wearing a cowboy hat, boots and a pearly grin.

Still, "it took a while before I could actually sing my original material in front of people without peeing myself."

This summer, Toussaint plans to release an album titled "My Name Is Liz," where she sings of being a "City Girl with a Country Soul."

Like other country records, the album is full of songs about tough times, lost love and gunfighting, although this single mother of two ain't just whistling Dixie.

Recently, "someone was shot down on my corner," said Toussaint, who now lives in West Pullman.

"It's real out here!"

If Toussaint's forthcoming album manages to succeed, it'll put her in rarefied company as a black country singer: Only two of the Country Music Hall of Fame's 105 members are black, and the last time an African-American artist had a hit on the country charts, before Darius Rucker this year, was Charley Pride in 1983.

"And let's be honest, Darius Rucker wouldn't be there if he wasn't in Hootie & the Blowfish," said Frankie Staton, who runs the Black Country Music Association out of her Nashville home.

"I've seen [black performers] come and go, I've been at the bedside of those who died trying to make it happen and didn't, but that shouldn't dissuade Liz from trying."

Toussaint said she's no stranger to discrimination. When she first sent her demos and head shot to country-friendly clubs, no one responded.

"When we would follow up with them, they would say, 'Yeah, we got your package. We don't book rap acts.' They claimed they listened to it, but there's no way."

Even now, after performing across the Midwest and recording her album at Premier Point Recording Studios, one of Chicago's best, she worries that mainstream country won't accept her, even if she does twang with the best of them.

"Because I listen to country music, because I watch CMT, because I know how serious country fans are, I'm kind of skeptical about going there and saying, 'Hey, I'm from Chicago. I ride horses on vacation.' "

Watching her work, you'd never know the pint-size performer occasionally doubts how she'll be accepted in the genre. In the studio, she produces her own tracks with passionate fervor, tweaking guitar licks and hand claps, fiddling with fiddle runs for hours.

"She's the smallest one in the group, but she runs everything," said Al Stevens, her manager, who is also releasing her album. "She can tell you exactly what she's looking for."

Walter English, who plays piano in Toussaint's band, predicts she'll soon not only grab country fans, but bring in new listeners as well.

"I never listened to country before Liz either, but my explanation is that Liz is like that food your parents put on your plate and you didn't want it because you didn't recognize it," he said. "Once you tried it, though, you love it."

Her brother Abdullah puts it another way: "Think about hip-hop. It used to be just an urban thing, but now the suburban kids know more than we do.

"Well, that's what we're going to do with Liz, only the reverse."
- Jason George/Chicago Tribune


2006 Country Soul

2008 My name is Liz

2019 American As Bean Pie



Get ready for a City Girl with a Country Soul.

Liz Toussaint alone, is a walking party, has Louisiana running through her veins, and a voice as big as Texas! Add that with 6 talented band members and you’re guaranteed a good time!

She performs hits from her album “American As Bean Pie” and covers many favorites like “When will I be loved” by Linda Ronstadt and “If your not” by Shania Twain. Liz improvises and interacts with her audience, sometime including them in the show. One audience member from the Illinois State Fair said: “It was so fun to watch the children on stage dancing with her, my kids had a ball!” Liz has wowed audiences at County and State Fairs all over with rave reviews, Andrea Ingram, VP of the Museum of Science and Industry said: "Exactly what we needed; perfect song selection; perfect execution. People totally LOVED it."

After opening for Comedian Cedric the Entertainer to a standing ovation, Liz is quickly gaining a reputation for being a hard act to follow. She comes from a bloodline of great talent as she is related to Allen Toussaint who has written, arranged, produced and played piano for many of the best New Orleans R&B records ever made.

As the only black female Country/Americana artist from Chicago, Liz is without question a rarity. Her witty personality comes alive on stage as she gives her audience a peek into her life as an inner city teen, uncharacteristically listening to country music. She’s even outed some closeted country music lovers by getting them to sing along to songs that are very country, yet not on the country charts like “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner or “Sail On” by Lionel Richie. The Chicago Tribune found her story to be so interesting, they published a full page on her life in June of 2009 titled “City Born, Country Drawn”.

Toussaint previously studied at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. This singer/songwriter/producer is dedicated to her craft and destined to be the next groundbreaking artist from Illinois. She is currently set to release a eye opening Documentary about her life and her journey in the Country music genre. 

Band Members