Folk Singer Lisa Bastoni To Release New Album HOW WE WANT TO LIVE
Folk singer Lisa Bastoni's new album, How We Want to Live, chronicles life changes, including songs about the dissolution of her marriage and learning to live a new normal -- but more than anything, it finds the songwriter diving deeper into the life she craves. Throughout ten tracks, themes wind from romantic relationships to those with her children, parents, and friends. Weaved throughout are hopes for herself and the world around her. The album is set for release on September 20. "Walk A Little Closer," with Lula Wiles, is premiering today on The Bluegrass Situation.
How We Want to Live is a contrast to 2017's The Wishing Hour, which she recorded in the wee hours of the morning in her kids' playroom. The album marked her return to music after a 10-year absence -- though once a full-time busker in Boston making her living playing on T platforms in the winter and in Harvard Square in the summer, she eventually burnt out and needed a break. She got married, had two kids, and became a stay-at-home mom, experiencing postpartum anxiety and depression. Finding music again in 2016, as a mother of a one- and three-year-old, was like therapy. Lisa's return has served her well: she's a 2019 Kerrville New Folk Winner.
All of the songs on How We Want to Live were written when Lisa's marriage was ending -- though it's not a divorce album. Instead, it finds its creator doing the deep work of deciphering what she wants her world to be. Sifting through her thoughts and feelings about her relationships -- between her and a partner, both real and imagined; between her and a parent; between her and her children; between longtime friends -- and expressing what she would like each of those people to hear and know. It was produced by Sean Staples and recorded at Side Hill Sound in Waltham, MA. The album features guest musicians Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland, Mali Obomsawin (Lula Wiles); Rose Cousins; Mark Erelli; and Naomi Sommers.
The title track, "How We Want to Live," with background vocals from Mark Erelli, chronicles her feelings around the time she began digging deeper into her songwriting and recording career, when it was becoming clear her passions and her relationship would not be able to co-exist. The summer after the end of her marriage, Lisa spent a weekend catching up with old high school friends, inspiring "Take The Wheel." "Silver Line" recalls what it can feel like to end a relationship with someone you love, but need to let go. "Never Gone To You," featuring background vocals from Rose Cousins, examines a relationship with a parent who doesn't have the capacity to stay involved.
Other tracks are a bit more carefree: "Dogs of New Orleans" captures the lesson of being in the moment. "Nearby" is about the moments where love feels just right, without trying and without any effort. "Walk A Little Closer," featuring Lula Wiles, is a bluegrass-tinged tune about a first date. "Beautiful Girl," featuring Naomi Sommers, is an encouragement to Lisa's daughter -- to keep the sometimes-softer edges that can seem like a liability.
The sole cover on the album is Bob Dylan's "Workingman's Blues #2."
The first song written for the album, "Pocket Full of Sighs," was inspired by a line in a hidden notebook of Lisa's grandmother's, found after she passed away. As a teenager, Lisa flipped through the pages of her grandmother's guitar notes, an instrument she learned as a 40-something-year-old. After she died in 2017, Lisa inherited her guitar -- a 1971 Gibson J50 -- complete with her handprint on the upper bout, where the sweat and oils from her hand wore away the finish while waiting her turn in song circles.
"I keep picturing my grandmother, who was always encouraging me to keep at it -- I was just getting started again when she died. I wish she knew what a gift she gave me when she taught me to play the guitar all those years ago."
July 17 - Cambridge, MA - Lizard Lounge
July 22 - Cambridge, MA - Cantab Lounge
July 23 - Cambridge, MA - Passim Series @ Kendall Square
July 27 - Huntington, NY - Huntington Folk Festival
August 15 - Lincoln, MA - DeCordova Museum
August 25 - Riverside, RI - Providence Folk Festival
September 13 - Providence, RI - Askew*
September 14 - Cambridge, MA - Club Passim*
September 22 - Brooklyn, NY - Pete's Candy Store*
October 4 - Philadelphia, PA - The Locks at Sona (opening for Dan Bern)
October 13 - Orlando, FL - RetroMagic @ EPCOT Center
October 19 - Mansfield, MA - Rose Garden Coffeehouse
November 1 - Dallas, TX - Poor David's Pub ^
November 5 - Austin, TX - Barker House Concerts ^
November 8 - Fischer, TX - Fischer Fest ^
November 9 - San Antonio, TX - Bowman Backyard ^
November 16 - Dunbarton, NH - Town Hall
November 25 - Provincetown, MA - The Mews
November 30 - Middletown, CT - The Buttonwood Tree
* Album release show
^ Kerrville New Folk Tour