REVIEWS for WHENEVER THE MOON IS FULL
26 stations crossing a variety of formats have already shared the remarkable musicianship and melodically magnificent muses of this LA based singer/songwriter that left her home town of Philadelphia to pursue what we believe is a promising career. With strong vocal and songwriting
similarities comparable to an outstanding mix of Amy Grant meets Heart, Lisa's debut is an endless array of insightful stories that are as memorable as they are upbeat and inspirational. From empowering pop to deeply contemplative and rhythmically intense. Lisa is a superb commercial
radio contender that has laced the likes of acoustic and electric guitars, piano, cello, organ and harmonies that radio is certain to receive listener kudos for spinning.
Aside from her own music, she has blessed the background of vocal accompaniment for a number of other independent artists while turning heads with her involvement in a variety of organizations including Indiegrrl, with which she organized a showcase last May in the worldwide benefit for Kosovo Refugee Relief. We anticipate great things for Lisa and cannot encourage programmers enough to share "I Am Not Leaving", "If You Leave Now", and "Enemy" as these three are beyond radio-ready! This is a sure-shot, five star record, pure and simple!
Breathy urgent vocals over strummed rolling guitars. Well-crafted songwriting with strong guitar leads and mandolin accents. Rolling Stone's next cover girl.
Wow, does Lisa's voice jump right out of my speakers, or is it just me? A lot of artists can't transfer energy to their records, but the dynamics of her voice just make you sit up straight in your chair. The production quality is excellent, with a very full yet subtle quality that is so unique you can pick out each single instrument, which believe me can turn to mud in a big hurry under the heavy handed knob turner. "If You Leave Now" explores that brief period of time in a relationship when you look at your significant other and say to yourself, "Man you're really beginning to get on my nerves". When I listen to her I almost get a hint of Ann Wilson from Heart. "The Glory and the Dream" - Nice layers of guitars grab me right away. The bass pushing the song along instead of following the bass drum. That's what gives a song that edgy feeling boys and girls... I really like the soaring melody. Her voice kills me. (If you can't tell, I write while I listen so I just type my immediate impression, and I am very impressed.) Lisa could probably sing any style of music she wanted too, very versatile in her phrasing, yet she does not lose any of her power or fade away on those soprano harmonies. Would I buy this CD? Damn right I would. You have to listen to this woman's voice. --Renegade Reviews
Pop rock, singer/songwriter Lisa Johnson has been compared to popular artists ranging from Shawn Colvin to Ann Wilson to Bonnie Raitt with good reason. Her sound seems to be a bit of a blend of all three styles. The third track, "Trust", especially reminds me of the acoustic ballads of Heart. And in the footsteps of such brilliant songwriters, Lisa Johnson is true to the craft, writing strong, intense lyrics that are personal and universal at the same time. They speak poetically of the anger of heartbreak, the wars that pass for love affairs, and the betrayals of trust without apology or overt bitterness. They are the anthems of a strong soul, a survivor, someone desperate to end the wars that we wage on each other. Coupled with solid melodies and arrangements makes this another excellent debut we recommend checking out. Pick hits: "The Glory and The Dream", "Trust", "Miss You So Much", "The Strong One".
"…well - written, admirably performed and originally produced."
---- Jim Graves, host of "Free Flight" on WFSS-FM
"This week’s feature is Lisa Johnson’s "Whenever the Moon is Full." Now I don’t know much about the moon, but this CD is full! From soft, melodic acoustic ballads to hard driving bluesy rock, Lisa is right on. Rich with subtleties, this CD took me several listens to fully appreciate. I was immediately impressed by Lisa’s talents as a musician and by her clear, intense and at times melancholy voice. But it took me a while to appreciate the intelligence and strength of Lisa’s songwriting.
Lisa has found a way to express sadness and vulnerability with an underlying resignation and strength that cannot be denied. So, when Lisa sings, "I am now the strong one…" I both believe and admire her. "Miss You So Much" has an intense, dreamy quality that draws you in while "Go Away" is proof positive that Lisa can rock with the best. Many of the songs on this CD include messages about personal responsibility, about owning up to your own feelings and actions. This is something I find greatly lacking in our modern-day blame someone or something else society. This is what I find most impressive about Lisa’s songwriting. Lisa Johnson is a person with something to say, so listen up.""
---Jeff Hepfer, "burn yer radio"
"Funky and fun...powerful...strong imagery that challenges you to think beyond the obvious
"Go Away" starts out with "schizophrenic voices" eerily echoing through the mix and explodes into a raucous expression devoid of sensitivity. Powerful. "Enemy" how a Caucasian woman feels that she is also a victim of hate and prejudice because of the fact she is white. The lyrics delve into this sensitive subject with compassion and understanding and wind up exploring a new and exciting twist to a delicate, controversial topic.
"Caroline" a friend tries to divert the destructive impulses of Caroline but Caroline prefers to love the man who can not love anyone, including himself. He hides behind his mamma and he hides behind the bottle. The story is so well written that you can get a very real picture of what this guy looks like, where he lives and what his voice sounds like."The Strong One" romantic. "Forgive Yourself" cool. "Cry In The Dark" Those piano solo songs are spellbinding and this one is no exception. Takes you back to the days of Joni Mitchell and Carole King. Intelligent approach.
IN SUMMARY: Lisa Johnson’s' music is more cerebral than the usual fare. There's a certain feeling of letting the music fill in and support the undertones instead of just letting the lyrics take the whole show. Subtle genius in a wide-appeal format that is sure to please a large audience.
---Independent Songwriter Webmagazine
"Sonically textured and smoothly produced...(Johnson's) themes are relevant to independent, creative thoughtful women striving to define and express themselves."
"Originally from the East Coast, Lisa Johnson took the risk and moved to LA for her music. Her 1998 release "Whenever the Moon is Full," is a collection of eleven songs written or co-written by Johnson. Johnson's music is a cross between rock and folk, and should appeal to both audiences. It has potential for contemporary pop radio, as well.
First, you'll notice Johnson's voice. At a glance, she is a unique sounding alto. Then, out of the blue, come the airy lilting high notes. The unique vocal phrasings. The unexpected twists of melody.
While she performs mainly as a solo singer/songwriter/guitarist, "Whenever the Moon is Full" is a fully produced record. To Johnson and co-producer Tommy Edwards' (of the LA band Fake Mustard) credit, the disc is not over-produced, and it's easy to visualize Johnson doing them justice in a live situation with only her ax. Johnson plays acoustic and electric guitars, piano and keyboards, and even mandolin (her first and only attempt was recorded for the album). Lisa Johnson's best talent lies in her songwriting. The CD is at times introspective, at times defiant. She boldly confronts reticent love in "I Am Not Leaving". The rocking "Go Away" addresses inner conflicts and inertia, while "Enemy" is a social statement about racism. The delicate "Trust" tells of vacillating feelings between opening your heart and running away.
Johnson makes her living currently on the LA area club scene, so definitely check out one of her shows if you're in the area. This experienced and emotional artist should prove terrific in performance.
---Suzanne Glass, Indie-Music.com
Lisa strums emotion out of her guitar that compliments her edgy and soul bearing vocals. The music is raw and powerful and Lisa's songwriting is flawless as it is entertaining.
A definite ****! (Four stars)
---Aaron Childs, host of "The Audio Realm" on WCSR-FM
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