I’m sitting in a rocking chair in an old-fashioned seaside town.
People hoot and holler fueled by joy, alcohol, the unbeatable freedom that comes with a week of vacation.
A block away the ocean waves break on New Jersey sand.
Above the moon is hinting at orange and promised storm clouds begin to roll across the sky.
In my ears, the soon to be released Liz Bills EP playing over and over.
It’s getting cold as the breeze picks up.
I’m on vacation from the desert, so any drop below 80 is going to give me a chill.
Earlier this evening I went on a Haunted Trolley tour, rambling around the town learning about all of the Bed & Breakfasts that count ghosts amongst their guests.
There’s something about knowing you’re surrounded by ghosts…
There’s something about a good ghost story to plant that seed of spooky in the back of your mind.
There’s something about a good story. Period.
Some of the best songs are stories set to music.
Some of the best songwriters are musical story tellers.
Have you listened to a song and just been able to see it? Like the song automatically elicits a music video in your head?
“My Man,” the second song on the EP kicks on. The pulsing guitar strumming going in time with the swings of the young woman on the porch swing across the patio from me.
It could be her theme song as she scrolls through her phone, curled up in an oversized sweatshirt.
It’s so easy to assume that romantic thoughts are swirling through her head and with each swipe of her thumb as she refreshes whichever apps she’s looking at.
And that might be one of Liz Bills hidden talents.
Her songs, stories themselves, have a way of inserting themselves into the soundtracks of the lives of everyone around you.
The third song comes on, and that’s the one that grabs me in its hairy jaws. “Werewolf” plays, and I knew before it was over the first time I heard it, I would hit replay the second it finished.
The wind is picking up and the front woman of Analog Heart is crooning wolf howls with a voice that sounds so innocent it’s almost possible to forget she’s singing about pain and heartache and love and lust.
Her songs are right up their with the best of the acoustic country/rock/alternative songs you hear on your fancy satellite radio.
If I close my eyes and block out this New Jersey ocean town – ignore the cars and the people, the smells of food and spilled drinks and cigarette smoke – I can see Liz Bills, backlit by blue with her guitar singing her heart out to all the women who think they are broken, to everyone looking for the love of their life or the love for the night; to all of those scrolling through social media feeling like they are missing out and to all of those sitting in a rocking chair on a porch in Cape May, NJ with their ear buds in and eyes closed.
Liz Bills sings in a voice that is astonishingly clear and capable. Her melodies are catchy and upbeat. Her music is perfect for the bar, the party, the beach, the city.
What I’m trying to say is, she discards the safe sounds.
You can hear her peeling away her own layers as if to say “this is who I am now. I might change tomorrow, I might not, but this is me and I will always be me.”
Music changes, just like everything else. But you just know that even if her sounds change, everything she puts out will be authentic Liz Bills. Whether it’s an upbeat love song or a more secretly sinister sound – it’s her.
That’s what you get with her music – her and nothing less.
As the “Bomb Song” closes out I find myself rocking in time with the music.
I think a stray cat just crossed the street in front of me (then again, there are ghosts here).
I stop rocking. For a minute.
Then push play again and start the EP over.
To check out more from Liz Bills visit her at https://liz-bills-atlg.squarespace.com and soon (Very Soon) at lizbills.com