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BWW CD Review: Lisa Viggiano Releases A Welcome INVITED TO STAY

With her new album INVITED TO STAY, Lisa Viggiano has created just such an amalgam.

BWW CD Review: Lisa Viggiano Releases A Welcome INVITED TO STAY

The music industry has gone through considerable change over the years, sometimes for the better, others, not so much. There was a time when an artist could release an album, knowing that it would be judged solely on the artistic merit provided thereupon; today, social media has given listeners an opportunity, indeed a need, to know the performer whose work they are supporting. Of course, that was a time when singers put out entire records that took the listener on a journey, from opening number to closing - today, recording artists release digital singles and EPs that are little more than a musical amuse bouche, with no dinner to follow. The world and the arts will change and grow, evolve and integrate, and that is as it should be, as long as what we are left with is a proper and satisfying amalgam of the best of the past, the present, and the inevitable future.

With her new album INVITED TO STAY, Lisa Viggiano has created just such an amalgam. This 37 minute, 11 track release is the 2020 MAC award winning Best Female Vocalists first full album in twenty years and, brother, was it worth the wait. Like a work of art that appreciates with the passage of time, Ms. Viggiano's work as a musical storyteller has grown more rich and replete with nuance of delivery and delicacy of tone, which is saying a lot, considering the wealth of talent she has displayed during the last two decades. Thanks to the aforementioned social media and numerous live appearances, Lisa Viggiano has a widely acknowledged status as one of the good guys. She is seen and valued as a person of positive energy, humility, kindness and generosity, all of which comes across on Invited To Stay, which is sure to be appreciated by all the ViggiAficionados hoping to get a disc evoking that special quality that accompanies her onto every stage. The disc will serve her as well as her appearances, live or online, have, and not just because of the perfect way in which it captures her essence, but in the artistic journey that she and a team of musical proficients have created for the listener - no musical director is listed, one suspects that Viggiano worked one on one with Tim Di Pasqua on the piano-backed cuts and with Monroe Quinn on the guitar-accompanied tracks, and she should hang on to both instrumentalists, for it is plain to see the artistic chemistry is abundant.

As a record album, Invited to Stay is like a book one has curled up with for an afternoon adventure, each track representing a different facet of Lisa Viggiano's personality, life experience and storytelling goals. There is a jazzy, quirky "Don't Fence Me In" and a vulnerable, earnest "I Need to Wake Up" - who else but Lisa Viggiano brings together a song cycle ranging from Cole Porter to Melissa Etheridge? To sweeten the presence of two such different composers and eras in songwriting, the disparity in the musical acting in the two numbers is tangible and terrific, especially when the latter transitions from a tiny confession to a bold declaration before the song ends. On an album that features the pop/rock artists for which Ms. Viggiano has a particular affinity, artists like Joni Mitchell, Dan Fogelberg, and Bob Dylan, it is particularly satisfying to read a songwriting credit for Lisa herself, a song titled "The Heart of Her" that Lisa V has written with Mr. David Friedman, and a song that other artists will be longing to sing, once they have heard this tender, honest rendition that is reminiscent of performances by Amanda McBroom and Nancy LaMott. The recording is a standout on an album filled with noteworthy cuts, not the least of which is a pairing this writer found particularly interesting.

A well-known optimist and font of hope, Lisa Viggiano reveals a side of herself rarely seen with the back-to-back inclusion of "Try To Remember" and "When October Goes" and it is a most welcome experience, hearing the world-weariness in these two performances. It is a shade of emotion not often seen on this singer, and the musical vocabulary she uses to present the story is as eloquent as a broadcaster and intricate as the maze of life, and with these two recordings, Lisa Viggiano tells the listener that no amount of idealism has protected her from the sadness and regret everyone has felt, that she, like we, has been there. It is the climbing out of it that is important, which is why the artist makes the choice to follow the two wistful and worried songs with a rock anthem about living life to the fullest. The judgements Viggiano makes in the song placements are calculated, deliberate, and they are decisions that pay off, in a big way.

Invited To Stay includes cover art by Lisa Viggiano's uncle, Michael P. Cutrona, Ph.D. and it is apparent that the late doctor holds a special place in Viggiano's heart and life, as she dedicates the venture to him in words most exceptional and praising. While the CD is available on streaming platforms, it is worth the expense to own the physical disc to look at Cutrona's painting and to read the words Lisa uses to inspire people. Whether in her music, her teaching, her online presence, or the simple words inside of a CD cover, that is the true essence and goal of Lisa Viggiano: the inspiration of others.

As a wise teacher once said, "Do or do not do, there is no try."

Lisa Viggiano does.

Hard copies of INVITED TO STAY are available at CD baby or the Lisa Viggiano WEBSITE

INVITED TO STAY is available on these streaming platforms: iTunes, Spotify, Amazon music

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From This Author - Stephen Mosher

Stephen Mosher is the author of The Sweater Book (a collection of his photography featuring celebrated artists from the entertainment communities of New York, Los Angeles, and London), Lived In Crazy... (read more about this author)

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