Vanessa Lively
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Vanessa Lively

Austin, Texas, United States | MAJOR

Austin, Texas, United States | MAJOR
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Vanessa Lively - Return to Waves (CD Review)"

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the late Summer of 2012, Vanessa Lively and her husband Jason performed at a lovely street fair 'Pruiverij' in Veendam, The Netherlands. Lots of fun, food and most important: music! The duo impressed me with their 45 minutes show. A tent is something different than a listening room, after all. I wasn't familiar with the music and I didn't own any of Vanessa's albums. I cut a clipping from the local newspaper, gave it to Vanessa's contact person and that was it. Until... the new album 'Return To Waves' arrived!

This is a folk rock album with lots of pop flavors, no songs in Spanish and only a few influences from world music this time. Opener "I Am A Song" sets the tone for what we can expect. Reflective, relaxed, full of hope for the future. She only mentions a baby bird, but it is clear that giving birth to her little boy changed life profoundly for Vanessa, in a happy way of course. Lovely Native American chorus halfway the track. Gorgeous keyboards by Paul Curreri. "Chasm", the song from the cover art, has an urgent but nice funky rhythm (Andrew Pressman on bass plus Matthew Shepherd on drums) and so does "Unleash The Words". The adventurous layered title track passes by and Vanessa's pure, confident, unstirred delivery is quite fascinating. I agree with a fellow music writer who compared her to Suzanne Vega. Her inner strength shines through. "We Are Waiting" and "Heart Of Spruce" are sweet airy pop songs. Devon Sproule, a successful singer-songwriter in her own right, sings beautiful harmony vocals on a few tracks, often together with Paul Curreri.

"She Won't Let Go" is absolutely my favorite! The trumpets are missing, otherwise I would believe Calexico backed her up. The song was co-written with Erik Moll. "Dive In" got a surprising sparkling arrangement. It is followed by ominous, feverish, sultry "Bury It". We can enjoy excellent guitar work, including his trademark unusual sounds, by Paul Curreri, he was definitely the best possible choice for this album. "Come And Find Me" goes back to the more conventional acoustic folk, a little love song, sung in an intimate seductive way. The short rendition "What Will You Say Tonight?" is a translation of a French poem by Charles Baudelaire from 1857. Piano based "Wash Over Me" incorporates a synthesizer (not my favorite tool - but allowed here), to build up the song. By the way: Vanessa has promised to post all the poetic lyrics on her website.

I could compare Vanessa with any of the well-known folk pop divas. Actually, I don't want to listen to her in a big fancy venue, I want to enjoy her music in a basement club in San Francisco, or in a castle room in SouthEast Germany! According to her website, this album stands apart from anything Vanessa Lively has ever done before. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not familiar with her earlier work, so I would say: 'Return To Waves' stands apart because of its high quality!
Written by Johanna J. Bodde - January 2nd, 2015. - American Alt-Country (The Netherlands)

"Uncovering Stones by Vanessa Lively one of the most underrated singer-songwriter albums of the past year"

Vanessa Lively's Uncovering Stones exudes quality, but is also one of those albums that you never get enough of.

All in all I dare say Uncovering Stones by Vanessa Lively one of the most underrated singer-songwriter albums of the past year. - De krenten uit de pop (The Netherlands)

"Uncovering Stones is an album full of energy, optimism and enthusiasm"

With Uncovering Stones, Vanessa Lively shows how universal the language of music really is and how people all over the world can unite in solidarity, harmony and pleasure, regardless of their individual origin or race. There are many musical influences from different cultures in the songs on this record, ranging from world music, funk and pop to the typical Latin American sound. It is an album full of energy, optimism and enthusiasm.

(click link to see full review) - Rootstime (Belgium)

"Top 12 of 2012 list"

Vanessa Lively is in the "Top 12 of 2012" list from Where the Birds Fly (Germany) - Where the Birds Fly (Germany)

"A Conversation with Austin-based Singer Songwriter Vanessa Lively"

Visual artist and singer/songwriter, and Old Soul, Vanessa Lively has been described as a woman who thrives on jumping into the unknown with both feet.

She certainly did when she and her husband moved to South America to do volunteer work in impoverished areas.

Now back in the US- living in Austin TX, Lively had the chance to speak with KUNC’s Wendy Wham about her latest album, Uncovering Stones, her experiences with reverse culture shock when moving back to the United States, and other thoughts.

Vanessa Lively has two shows along Colorado's Front Range this week-- Tonight (4/3) at Avogadro's Number in Ft. Collins, and Thursday night (4/5) at the Swallow Hill Cafe in Denver. - KUNC

"Last Minute Folk offers a Lively concert"

Vanessa Lively will perform at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Posted: March 29, 2012

Texas singer, songwriter, musician and painer Vanessa Lively, accompanied by her musical partner and husband Jason Lively, will perform a Last Minute Folk Concert Series show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 4775 S.W. 21st.

Tickets can be bought at the door for $15 or in advance for $10 with a meal purchase at New City Cafe, 4005 S.W. Gage Center Drive. A ticket entitles the holder to a free appetizer with two adult meals through April.

The San Antonio, Texas-born, Austin-based Lively had started a career as an artist and graphic designer. She discovered her musical muse later in life when she pursued some alternative experiences, including raking blueberries in Maine as a migrant farm worker and moving with her husband to South America for a few years to do volunteer work in impoverished areas.

It was in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador that music began happening for Lively, recalling: “It was how people connected. We’d get together, we’d sing songs. Everyone either danced or played an instrument or sang. People were just musical — it wasn’t like you were a musician or you weren’t. You play as a pastime. Music was such a thread of connecting with people and celebrating.”

Lively's first three albums grew out of her experience in South America, and her latest, "Uncovering Stones," recorded in her home studio in Austin, is an extension of those connections, filled with themes that permeate her life and experiences: “Community, living in solidarity with those around you. Feeling what other people’s struggles and joys are and being connected with them.”

The music embraces "hints of urban, world, Latin, funk and pop," and two of the CD's 12 tracks are sung in Spanish.

Doors for the concert will open at 7 p.m. More information can be found at - The Topeka Capital Journal

"Local songstress Vanessa Lively brings her "global reverberation" to Europe with new release deal"

Vanessa Lively embodies what Austin music is all about.

Her sound could be comfortably labeled as Americana, folk or singer/songwriter music, but there are a plethora of layers to her compositions. With lyrics coming at you in English and Spanish, an eclectic instrumentation, rhythms that bring to mind the deep roots of music from different parts of Latin America and the diverse ways in which Lively uses her voice to convey meaning, her work is injected with what can only be called a "global reverberation."

Lively's latest release, Uncovering Stones, is a wonderful mixture of textures, tempos and instruments that clearly shows just how worldly Lively's folk is. All the expected sounds are there: bass, acoustic and electric guitar, banjo and violin. All those instruments are beautifully played by a group of talented local musicians that include Lively's husband and producer, Jason Lively, but what catapults the album into must-listen territory is the unexpected sounds that give the record it's world/Latin pulse: charangos, trumpet, rock-tinged drums and Spanish lyrics. The record was received well by fans and critics alike. Now, there are even bigger news: Lively just signed a contract to release the album in Europe.

With lyrics coming at you in English and Spanish, an eclectic instrumentation, rhythms that bring to mind the deep roots of music from different parts of Latin America and the diverse ways in which her voice conveys, her work is injected with what can only be called a "global reverberation."
As she was preparing to do an European tour, Lively began contacting DJs. Unbeknownst to her, the album landed in the hands of Continental Records Europe's Bert Pijpers, who reached out and expressed interest in the record. A few talks with fellow musicians and some legal orientation from the Austin Music Foundation followed.

The end result is a signed contract and an upcoming European tour this summer that includes Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.

"I was not that familiar with Continental Records," says Lively. "I had a talk with my friend Betty Soo, who had just come back from Europe, and then asked around a bit more at the House of Songs. It all helped me realize this was a great label. They used to be Rounder Europe. No one had anything but good things to say about it. I feel like it's small enough that they still pay attention to their artists. This means they'll probably work hard to put some momentum behind the album."

Lively explained that, based on her own experience and that of her musician friends, there is a significant group of people in Europe who love music that comes from Austin. Although this will not be her first time playing there, the fact that the album is being released there places Europe high in Lively's priority list. Also, the artist shared that the timing could not have been better.

"I love playing in Europe," says Lively. "This time feels special because it's the first time I feel 100% behind a record. I have been putting out records and learning as I went. With Uncovering Stones, I feel it's representative of me and where I am musically at the moment. The communication also came almost at the same time as an email about free legal consultation with AMF. It's nice when things fall into place like that."

Besides giving her a chance to get much more exposure overseas, releasing Uncovering Stones in Europe is something that has a special meaning for Lively and her fans here in Austin.

"Having the record release in Europe holds some weight there, but what I feel is going to happen is that it's going to help me in Europe and back home equally," says Lively. "People get excited to see an artist grow. For me the strongest impact is here because people that have followed my music from the beginning will see that I've gown, that I've expanded musically. That's what's so cool about Austin: we're all watching each other, we're a community and a great support system."

"I love - CultureMap Austin

"Uncovering Stones is #5 of the Top Albums of 2011 List!"

KUNC in Northern Colorado listed Uncovering Stones as #5 on their Top 10 Albums of 2011. - KUNC Northern Colorado

"The Music of 2011: Day 3"

Vanessa Lively is not only a soulful human being, and wonderful singer/songwriter, but also an accomplished painter. She sold individual panels that composed a larger work to fund her latest work, Uncovering Stones. Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, she recently came back home from a two year sojourn to South America where she and her husband worked as volunteers. Featuring an all-star cast of musicians, and a compelling mix of tempos and styles that embrace hints of urban, world, Latin, funk and pop, Uncovering Stones is a tasty chronicle of her experiences and emotions through the journey and the return. it is a beauty. - KUNC Northern Colorado

"Top 10 of 2011 List"

The Music of 2011: The Complete List
By Wendy Wham

Amazing albums were released this year - powerhouse works by Adele, Arcade Fire, Beirut, Bon Iver, Burlap to Cashmere, Coldplay - as well as great albums by Brett Dennen (fun!), Feist, Fleet Foxes, Gomez, Lisa Hannigan, Mumford & Sons, Paul Simon, and more! All of these should lead a list of favorites of 2011.

Weeding further: I loved the latest Eric Bibb, David Bromberg, City and Colour, Farewell Drifters, Katie Herzig, Jason Isbell, Imelda May, Benny Marchant, Sarah McLaughlan, Ollabelle, Justin Roth, and the Rifters. Rj Cowdery, The Head and the Heart, and Madeleine Peyroux, were ALL wonderful. Honorable mention to the great work of Katey Laurel, Katya Chrover, and Matracea Berg. ( … who did I miss? I feel as if I missed someone…)

Given this huge quantity of great music, I chose to reflect upon works I feel were equally as strong, but perhaps did not have a huge media machine behind them. Selections that just might slip under your radar, but certainly should not! I hope you enjoyed the selections.

The Full List:

1. The Civil Wars - Barton Hallow
2. Red Molly - Light In The Sky
3. Chuck Pyle - The Spaces In Between
4. Driftwood Fire - How to Untangle A Heartache
5. Vanessa Lively - Uncovering Stones
6. Jonathan Edwards - My Love Will Keep
7. Kathryn Mostow - Rich Girl
8. Blame Sally - Speeding Ticket and a Valentine
9. SHEL - When The Dragon Came Down
10. Annie Wenz - Ride The Sky

That's all for my list of 2011! I don't have to tell you what a struggle it was to whittle it all down, so many wonderful and delightful releases this year! - KUNC Northern Colorado

"10 Questions for Vanessa Lively"

Writing a song is no easy task. Writing a good one is even harder. Writing a good song that has purpose, is in touch with the life experiences of others and makes people cry tears of joy is absolutely beautiful and rare. The songs that Vanessa Lively writes are in that last category. Her travels, pains, concerns, truths and joys are all in the songs that she puts in her records. With Uncovering Stones, her latest effort, the singer is doing that one more time. Vanessa Lively's music sounds like smart world music, which makes a lot of sense coming from Austin. It's music that needs to be heard, shared and experienced.

- Gabino Iglesias, Austin Post

(For the full interview, please click the link) - Austin Post (Nov. 22, 2011)

"Review of Uncovering Stones by Vanessa Lively (Dec. 1, 2011)"

Lively has uncovered some universal truths with Uncovering Stones. On this, the San
Antonio native’s fourth release, Lively celebrates the magical power that music has to
unite, inspire and induce soul-sharing intimacy across cultures and borders. A globetrotter whose travels have taken her from South America to Northern England, Lively absorbs the rhythms and muses from experiences to create a unique and mesmerizing sound all her own. Producer (and husband) Jason Lively weaves together a world of textures and tempos, with pleasant aural surprises
within every track. Highlights include “Digging Up Dirt,” about the search for roots and relevance, which opens the album with a lazy, carefree island feel, the uplifting and encouraging “Follow Your Heart” and “Skeletons,” a recognition that we’re all pretty much the same on this planet and our individual foibles
are no reason to let buckets of rain fall on our joyous parades. Lively’s is a passionate stirring and, well, lively voice that enlivens her songs with a lust for the spiritual connectivity that well-crafted and compassionate songs will always be capable of creating.

— GLEASON BOOTH - Texas Music Magazine

"Spotlight on Texas Artist Vanessa Lively"

Austin’s Vanessa Lively is a true multidiscipline artist. She’s a singer, songwriter, musician and painter with a do-it-yourself attitude and a compassionate spirit. The beautiful mosaic artwork on her new CD, Uncovering Stones, is an original piece that she painted on 42 smaller canvases. She sold each of them to fund the recording and production of the disc.

Uncovering Stones, not unlike that painting, is an earthy pastiche of styles. The San Antonio native combines folk, reggae, world beat, Americana, bluegrass and funk into a batch of 12 empowering songs that reflect her varied personal and musical influences.

Lively, now with four albums to her credit, has spent time living in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. That explains her ease with the Spanish language. Two tracks on Uncovering Stones, “Estoy Volando” and “Baile Conmigo,” are sung in Spanish. In fact, Lively paid homage to late Argentinean singer Mercedes Sosa on her third effort, 2010’s Canto y Cantera.

- by Mario Tarradell - The Dallas Morning News

"NPR's EarthSky features "Digging Up Dirt""

NPR's EarthSky features new song "Digging Up Dirt" by Vanessa Lively on EarthSky 22: Killer Asteroid Science and EarthSky 22: Richard Feynman is Still Awesome - EarthSky

"Featured artist of the week on Alternative Root Magazine (8-18-11)"

Vanessa Lively is “Digging Up Dirt” and loving it. On ‘Uncovering Stones’, the dirt she is digging, and the stones uncovered, is about growing, planting, working with the soil to create life, not take something away with words. Spending time raking blueberries in Maine as a migrant farm and performing volunteer work in impoverished areas of South America has provided background for Vanessa on how to dig up dirt. “Honeybee” rides a guitar strum as banjo notes pop and percussion sets the stride, a haunted dusty western scene fills your mind as “Men in White Hats” rides into town, foot stomp beats get your attention in “Follow Your Heart” as thoughts and strings create a cloud to glide on for “Learning to Breath”. Vanessa Lively gives her voice free reign, confidence lets in the magic to easily trump polished perfections. Echoed beats hold dark promise for “The Lost Boys” and the diversity of Latin grooves, showcasing the airy form of “Estoy Volando” and the acoustic horn driven sway of “Baile Conmigo”. - Alternative Root Magazine

"AG Award for Texas Singer-Songwriter for the 21st Century"

Vanessa Lively por su aporte como cantautora tejana y su canción “Alleluia” y “Baile Conmigo” merece reconocimiento en este blog.

Por eso y mucho mas otorgamos a Vanessa Lively el Premio AG Cantautora Tejana del Siglo XXI.

Vanessa Lively in recognition for her career as a Singer Songwriter in Texas including “Alleluia” y “Baile Conmigo” deserves recognition. We have decided to award Vanessa Lively the AG Award for Texas Female Singer Songwriter for the 21st Century - El Noticiero de Alvarez Galloso

"6th Annual Firecracker Festival @ The Cactus Cafe (Austin, TX 7/3/10)"

Vanessa Lively gave the most passionate performance of a song I have ever seen. -- Matt Peyton, No Depression - No Depression

"Rhythm & News - Releases: Uncovering Stones by Vanessa Livey (Summer 2011)"

Austin's Vanessa Lively is a true multidisciplinary artist. She's a singer, songwriter, musician and painter, and the beautiful mosaic artwork on her new CD, Uncovering Stones, is an original piece that she painted on 42 smaller canvases. She sold each of them to fund the recording and production of the disc. Uncovering Stones, not unlike that painting, is an earthy pastiche of styles. The San Antonio native combines folk, reggae, world beat, Americana, bluegrass and funk into a batch of 12 empowering songs that reflect her varied personal and musical influences. Lively, now with four albums to her credit, has spent time living in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. That explains her ease with the Spanish language. Two tracks on Uncovering Stones, "Estoy Volando" and "Baile Conmigo," are sung in Spanish. In fact, Lively paid homage to late Argentinean singer Mercedes Sosa on her third effort, 2010's Canto y Cantera.

-- published in the Summer 2011 / Issue 47 of Texas Music Magazine - Texas Music Magazine

"Review of Uncovering Stones by Leicester Bangs"

Recorded by Keith Gary in Austin, Vanessa Lively’s fourth album is a fine example of Spanish flecked Americana, the sort of thing that Texas’ great music city is renowned for. Relentlessly accessible thanks to a style which owes just as much to classic pop songwriters, she places her words amongst an evocative selection of roots instruments (charango, violin, mandolin, trumpet) and the results are languid Latin ballads, alt. country laments and upbeat folk rock.

Impossible to truly pigeonhole, Lively’s a musical adventurer, and “Uncovering Stones” reflects her passions and tastes. “Digging Up Dirt” marks an ideal opening, with her voice cajoling whilst the subtlest of Caribbean rhythms play out. “Men In White Hats” is altogether gentler, and displays an uncanny talent for pitch-perfect song craft. That’s followed by “Honeybee”, a faultless roots-pop song, which in some parallel universe would become a staple of daytime radio.

She’s obviously well thought of in her adopted hometown, attracting a host of guest musicians including Raina Rose, Carrie Elkin, Danny Schmidt and Rob Hooper, and last year, the Mayor proclaimed December 17th as "Vanessa Lively Day" in Austin, Texas.

- Rob F. - Leicester Bangs (Leicester, England)

"Four Flower Review by John Conquest! Third Coast Music Magazine"

Rather neatly, I owe my introduction to la nueva cancion, the South American protest song movement born in the 50s. of which the lyrics characteristically deal with poverty, empowerment, unity, imperialism, democracy and human rights, to Terry Allen. Coming back from visiting my father in Palo Alto, I stayed with Terry & Jo Harvey, then still living in Fresno (in fact I was their last house guest before they moved to Santa Fe), and Terry played me marvelous albums by Mercedes Sosa of Argentina and Violeta Parra of Chile, and made tapes of them for me. I explored a little further, though Victor Jara is the only other name that comes to mind, but never thought to see a nueva cancion album cross my desk. San Antonio-born Vanessa Lively and her husband Jason, who have made extended visits to South America, indeed Vanessa cut her first album in Ecuador, recorded this in honor of Sosa, who died last October. Featuring songs recorded by the giants of the movement, Sosa, Parra, Jara, Silvio Rodriguez, Atahualpa Yupanqui and Leon Gieco, it's a splendid introduction to a powerful genre - how many American protest songwriters have been, like Jara, hunted down by death squads, how many, like Sosa, would merit three days of national mourning? - Third Coast Music Magazine

"Folk Wax Review -- A Chain Unbroken"

A Chain Unbroken is San Antonio-born-and-bred Vanessa Lively's sophomore recording. Strange to relate, particularly for an Austin-based musician, Lively's second album was recorded over a two-month period during the winter of 2007 in a studio in Mossley, a suburb of the city of Manchester, in North West England. Stefan Pope, an Englishman that Lively befriended in Ecuador while recording her debut, Let Me Rise, assisted Lively to produce both releases. A Chain Unbroken features ten Lively-penned originals, plus a cover of Oaxaca, Mexico-born, Lila Downs' hypnotic, Latin-flavoured "Dignificada" (translates as "Dignified"). The latter lyric relates how Digna Ochoa, a human rights lawyer, was assassinated in her Mexico City office during October 2001. Released earlier this year, highlights on A Chain Unbroken include "The Only Day There Is," "Before Her Time," and the saxophone-propelled album closer "Alleluia."

Arthur Wood is a founding editor of FolkWax. You may contact Arthur at

Excerpt from the article:

One Night at Momo's
Three Straight Sets, Connections Galore
And a Kerrville Twist
Austin, TX - Arthur Wood, founding editor of FolkWax

"Album Review by Margaret Moser"

This gem does double duty, paying tribute to late Argentinean singer Mercedes Sosa and reflecting the Latin folk that San Antonio native Vanessa Lively fell in love with while living in the Andes. It's a compelling combination of Chilean and Argentinean composers, folk music on fire with worldly rhythms and a Latin pulse that Lively – now locally based – masters fluidly. Beautifully arranged, too. - The Austin Chronicle

"Texas Platters - Girlie Action"

"Through the Veil" and "Men in White Hats" aptly demonstrate Vanessa Lively's polished songwriting across the eclectic musical pantheon, but her calling lies in her puro Americano confluence of American roots and border music ("Estoy Volando," "Baile Conmigo"), such songs dominating her previous Canto y Cantera. That's not to suggest that her country ("Honeybee") and folk ("Follow Your Heart") aren't as weighty, only that the road between San Antonio and Austin is paved with guitars, and she strikes a chord in Spanish. - The Austin Chronicle

"Womenfolk Finds: Vanessa Lively (July 2011)"

Every Tuesday at 2:30 pm, we play a cut by the Womenfolk Find, our featured artist of the month, as a way of shining the spotlight on female artists you might not know...yet!

This month's Womenfolk Find: Vanessa Lively

Born in San Antonio, based in Austin, bilingual Vanessa Lively sings original songs in Spanish and English and releases her beautiful new album Uncovering Stones this month. Her Minnesota CD release show is on June 28th at the 318 Cafe.

--hosted by Ellen Stanley - KFAI - "Womenfolk"

"Vanessa Lively - Uncovering Stones"

San Antonio-born, Austin-based singer-songwriter, Vanessa Lively's new album, Uncovering Stones, is an eclectic world exploration of the universal language of music. Whether singing in Spanish or English, Lively is extremely aware and connected to the people of the world, describing the album's themes as "feeling other people's struggles and joys and being connected with them." This connection isn't just talk, but through her life experiences as a migrant farm worker raking blueberries in Maine and volunteering in South America's impoverished areas with her husband, Lively has created a solid album possessing 12 pretty songs varying in styles. And, even though, all of the songs on Uncovering Stones are worthy, it's the Latin songs like "Estoy Volando" and "Baile Conmigo" that make an impression. - Common Folk Music

"Musician Reviews: Vanessa Lively"

I had the honor of discovering the music of Vanessa Lively after seeing a You Tube video of her rendition of "Baila Conmigo". The second time I heard her music was in another You Tube video with the famed Texas Singer Songwriter Laura Marie.

Before writing about Vanessa Lively, I visited her website and reviewed her music including the CD "Canto y Cantera" which deals with music from Latin America. Vanessa Lively has released a new album with the title of "Uncovering Stones" which consists of her rendition of "Baila Conmigo" and "Follow Your Heart".

Vanessa Lively was born in San Antonio, Texas and arrived at the music scene during her time as a graphic designer. Vannesa Lively and her husband Jason Lively (who helps Vanessa) in the recordings of such great music lived in Ecuador and Maine.

It was from the experience in Ecuador (and other parts of the world) that she is able to record such precious gems. The interpretation of the music "Canto y Cantera" (which was recorded in memory of Mercedes Sosa) and "Uncovering Stones" by Vanessa Lively is pure and down to earth.

Vanessa Lively commented that her experience in Ecuador was one in which the world was filled with music. She continued to talk about her experience by commenting about how people sang for the sake of singing and enjoying life.

The album "Uncovering Stones" also deserves to be mentioned for the effort in recording it. Vanessa Lively painted the canvas for the CD design and sold them to raise money for the recording.

Vanessa Lively (and Jason Lively) deserve the admiration of the underwriter for the ability to deliver music without the need of computers or sound enhancers. The result is feeling that one is in contact with nature and enjoying life without the complications of a society that loses itself in the mundane.

Vanessa Lively gives such results since she challenges humanity to be itself by being friendly, helpful, and contributing to humanity. The result is the feeling of being at peace and in harmony internally as well as externally.

Vanessa Lively is one of the living examples of how music has become part of the globalization process without commercialism. The globalization process that the underwriter talks about is how Vanessa Lively has been able to unite the people of the world under the banner of great and down to earth music.

It is for this reason that Vanessa Lively will be remembered in the history of world music for eternity while the current musical fad will have been consigned to the dustbin of history. - Helium

"Look Lively Now"

We seem to have been featuring a lot of very good female singer-songwriters here recently. Here is another one.

Austin-based Vanessa Lively is new to me, although she already has three albums to her name. He fourth album, "Uncovering Stones", is released on 21 June. Copies can be pre-ordered from her website now. You ought to give it some serious consideration.

While over at her website, check out the press page where there is lots of photos and interesting information, including three different versions of her biography (long, medium and short). You ought to read the long version, as she and her husband Jason have clearly led quite a life, but here is the short version as a taster:

"For a woman who thrives on jumping into the unknown with both feet, Vanessa Lively took an unusual approach to her new album, Uncovering Stones. She and her producer-husband, Jason, planned nearly every note before recording it – which they did in their Austin home, with co-producer/engineer Keith Gary. The result is a compelling mix of tempos and styles filled with hints of urban, world, Latin, funk and pop that fully captures her compassionate nature and love of community. Uncovering Stones is, in fact, all about connecting. Vanessa even painted the album art beforehand – on 42 canvas squares she sold individually to fund the 12-song disc. Lively describes its themes as “feeling other people’s struggles and joys and being connected with them.” After raking blueberries in Maine as a migrant farm worker and living in South America with her husband to do volunteer work in impoverished areas, she feels those connections deeply – and when you listen, you will, too."

Here are a couple of my favourite tracks from the new album.

"Through The Veil" - Vanessa Lively

"Follow Your Heart" - Vanessa Lively

And here they are performing the old Mercedes Sosa song, "La Maza", on "Good Morning Austin" last year. Not the sort of thing you normally associate with breakfast television, at least not in the UK, but it would definitely help the corn flakes go down smoothly. - 27 Leggies

"Vanessa Lively – My interview and review of her new album: Uncovering Stones"

While this is a rock blog, (well, for the most part) I gotta admit, I am a true Texan deep in my heart. I am a huge fan of bluegrass, country swing and folk music. And while this type of music is not exclusively Texas, I like to think my Texas roots have something to do with my draw to these genres.

Having said that, I was thrilled to have one of the first listens of singer/songwriter Vanessa Lively’s new album, Uncovering Stones. Filled with universal themes of hope, love, questioning, struggles and searching, Lively achieves the ambitious task of telling a rich story with many moods and personalities.

Lively, in case you are not aware, is San Antonio-born but based in Austin.

Lively was most early affected musically by superwoman artist Tori Amos. “She was one of the first artists as a teenager I was introduced and be inspired by,” Lively says, “I used to paint to her music and I think that had a profound effect on me because she was so out there, and she was just free and liberated to do what she wanted with her music. She was creating her art and not catering to anyone else.”

She was also inspired by Ani DiFranco, which actually took some time to grow on the young Lively, but eventually became a huge influence on her. She, of course, loved the Beatles and grew up on them and from the Beatles stemmed her finding of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Bob Marley, who had a huge inspiration on Lively as well. Marley’s use of music for social change had a major influence on Lively.

“For me music is not just about the music, like the sounds and the textures, but it’s about making little changes in people’s lives; either they listen to it and they feel inspired to live their life fully or they listen to it and they are empowered by it,” Lively reflects, ”Or if they are going through a really hard time and they hear a song that speaks to them in that moment that they feel comforted. And that’s how I feel music has been in my life, and it’s more than just a soundtrack, it’s given me strength when I needed it or comfort when I was sad and so I like that level of music: honest and real life in songs.”

She wrote her first songs in 2004, but it always felt intuitive. When she isn’t singing, Lively’s second expression is through painting. In fact, the album cover is 42 smaller paintings that were put together to form a full cover. Once the album cover photo of the paintings was taken, Lively sold off each painting individually to help finance the recording sessions. A really cool timelapse of the painting process of the album cover it available at

Uncovering Stones is Lively’s fourth full length album, including her last album which came out last year and was a tribute to socially conscience Mercedes Sosa from Argentina, who had a profound effect personally on Lively. And although the album process is not new to her, Uncovering Stones feels different from the other ones. “I feel like it’s the first album where I know what my voice is, I know what my style is, and I feel more comfortable as a musician and I’ve had a lot experience behind me at this point, so to me it does feel like one of the first albums that I am putting out that is not just documenting where I’m at. It’s the one I really wanted to put out in the world and say, ‘Okay, this is my music’”.

A little bit of background, she lived in South America doing volunteer work as well as working as a migrant farm worker on a blueberry farm for a couple summer in Maine, which would explain those Latin and migrant roots that are deeply-embedded in the music, and how she sings so beautiful in Spanish!

So I’m going to get right down to it: I like this album a lot. To be honest, it is the perfect soundtrack for this summer with its low key mood and fluid tracks, it goes perfect with a patio and a cold drink (overlooking the Hill Country, of course). Every song is unique and different and the feeling is that this is intentional. No song sounds like another, and there is something very refreshing and oddly new about this. While so many artists develop a pattern that can sound very monotonous or predictable, Lively keeps you on your toes by creating a diverse tapestry that transports you to another world—her world.

Rather than go on about how special each song is, I would rather you check out the album and if you are looking for the real story of the inspiration of the songs, check out and she has an entire section devoted to each song’s meaning and musical roots. Her album covers a number of genres including reggae (‘Digging Up Dirt’), folk (‘Through The Veil’, ‘Men In White Hats’, ‘Follow Your Heart’), Latin (‘Estoy Volando’, ‘Baile Conmigo’), Americana & bluegrass (‘Honeybee’, Princess Song’), down-tempo (‘The Lost Boys’ and ‘Learning to Breathe’) just raw acoustic (‘Playing Games’) and a mixture of all in-between.

The strongest songs are on the back half of the album. The strong - Red Deliciously

"Show Report Round-Up – Chris Knight, Dave Rawlings Machine, Tom Russell, Firecracker Festival"

"Vanessa Lively gave the most passionate performance of a song I have ever seen." - Matt Peyton, A Truer Sound - A Truer Sound

"UMWA Feature Vanessa Lively on their Website"

"For the Miners" is a song that evocatively depicts the suffering of the friends and families of the victims of the Sago disaster is included in Let Me Rise, the debut release of singer/songwriter Vanessa Lively. - United Mine Workers of America

"Stong Lyrics, World Music Underpinnings"

"San Antonio-born, Austin-based Lively crafts acoustic music with strong lyrics and world-music underpinnings."

- Jim Beal, San Antonio Express News - San Antonio Express News

"Vanessa Lively -- "A Chain Unbroken""

Gentleness -- and grace. Vanessa and husband Jason Lively (who plays bass and charango in her band) recently returned from South America, where they traveled about doing good. While in Ecuador they ran into Englishman Stefan Pope, who invited them to England (somewhere along the way, Vanessa had written the beginnings of many of these songs while at Kerrville Folk Festival) -- where they recorded more of this album. [Yes, there is an earlier album floating about as well -- much of which she recorded while in Ecuador.] Then they came back home to Texas, hooked up with Sick and finished the recording. Released it a few weeks back.

Vanessa hails from San Antonio, is bilingual and bicultural -- and beautiful inside and out. Her concerts are a spiritual experience -- built upon a philosophy espoused in "The Only Day There Is" -- "Looking out the window today / All I see is loads of grey / And I think of yesterday But then again I know that I should be / A little bit of better company / 'Cause there's people right beside me. So I'll look today as the only day there is / 'Cause there's no other way to go through life than this / And I'll be right here in the moment (so) I don't miss / A single thing waiting / Waiting like a kiss."

In the title cut, Vanessa encourages us to "Hold her hand, hold his hand / Reach out and really take a stand / Breath on in to begin / One foot forward is how you start steppin' in / Quiet lies, pass them by / Open hearts, minds to opportunity." The final cut, "Alleluia," is truly an anthem to living for others -- "We're gonna rise above and open up our eyes / We're gonna rise up singing and change each others lives / 'Cause when we reach out and take another's hand / We'll raise our voice together as we walk across this land / And we'll be singing."

And you know what? Start hanging out with people like Jason and Vanessa Lively and you too will be raising your voice in song, letting your own life be transformed as you participate just as vitally in changing the lives of those around you. And, oh by the way, the music is beautiful!

Flanfire -- Bringing LIFE to Austin music. - Duggan Flanakin (Flanfire)


Uncovering Stones (2011) :: Recorded in Austin, TX
Canto y Cantera (2010) :: Recorded in Austin, TX (A tribute to the late Mercedes Sosa of Argentina)
A Chain Unbroken (2008) :: Recorded in Manchester, England
Let Me Rise (2007) :: Recorded in Quito, Ecuador

Uncovering Stones is receiving airplay on many stations around the world, as well as on Pandora Radio, Undercurrents & more!



Artist and songwriter Vanessa Lively celebrates the mystery and joy of motherhood with Return to Waves, a new record of folk, world, and soft soul. Producer Paul Curreri introduces an ethereal mood to Lively’s organic sound. Synthesizers swell in Sade-esque waves around LIvely’s breathy voice. Simple songs of love and growth are given a shade of mystery. Curreri and wife Devon Sproule lend subtle and unusual harmonies.

Following a 2012 release with Continental Records (formerly Rounder Europe), Vanessa Lively has established a regular presence in Europe. At home in Austin, TX, Lively moves between community and family life, music and touring, and painting (her work is featured on the cover of Return to Waves). She was recently named one of the Top 10 Artist of the Year by KUNC in Colorado. Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News writes, “Vanessa Lively is a true multidiscipline artist. She’s a singer, songwriter, musician and painter with a do-it-yourself attitude and a compassionate spirit.”

Band Members