Place-based fiddler, singer and song-writer Lizzy Plotkin has synthesized a lifetime of music and experience into her debut solo album, WE WILL SING.
Released March 8, 2019, the songs on the album range from lighthearted, introspective folk tunes (“Catch This Train” “We Will Sing”) to grooving, evocative instrumentals (“Sundown on the Sage” “New Bellingham”) to earthy a cappella blues hollers (“Home Stone”) and mellow country waltzes (“Lovin’ Arm” “Cochetopa”). Lizzy’s soulful, expressive voice and graceful fiddling tie it all together, and a band of distinguished American roots musicians help bring the songs to life. Owls and Rabbits and other vivid impressions of the natural world act as a backdrop as Lizzy mine’s her life experiences for insight and humility. We Will Sing draws from the full spectrum of American roots music styles to create an organic and uplifting meditation on the human experience.
Recorded at Swingfingers Studio in Ft. Collins, We Will Sing was produced by Lizzy herself. Under the guidance of engineer Aaron Youngberg, she brought on board a band of distinguished roots musicians including guitarist Eli West (guitar and mandolin), banjo players Dusty Rider (The Railsplitters) and Rick Good (Hot Mud Family), mandolinist Matt Flinner, and National champion guitarist Tyler Grant (Grant Farm). Jenny Hill of Free the Honey adds sweet vocal harmonies on Deep Woods Blues and Root Down. And Erin Youngberg (upright bass of FY5 and Uncle Earl) grounds the dreamy groove on Cochetopa, driving old time rhythm of Catch this Train and New Bellingham and the steady country waltz of Lovin Arm. Aaron Youngberg’s pedal steel and Lizzy’s twin-fiddle break on this track nod to her Nashville roots.
On “Deep Woods Blues,” when Lizzy calls out “Hey deep woods, what do you know?/Found me again at the side of the road,” it’s both a playful exclamation and a genuine question – what wisdom can the wilderness impart when we’re struggling from the edge of it?
Lizzy shows her breadth of songwriting across roots traditions with swingy numbers like “The Hat Song”, which is her ode to childhood, reflected in her bouncy, percussive fiddle playing and John Hartford-esque turns of phrase. Throughout the album, Lizzy mines her life experiences for insight and humility. “Lovin Arm”, a country waltz, isn’t just about romantic heartbreak but rather a song for all kinds of love.
“We pray for forgiveness for everything we’ve done / hoping our sorrows will turn into none / so take the moon and stars above / and place them in your heart / we are better off livin / broken apart” (Lovin Arm)
From the atmospheric fiddle opening to the final chorus, the title track of “We Will Sing” reminds us all to celebrate life. Dedicated to Lizzy’s late father, this song is a joyful mission statement: “I give all my heart/ to the one truest part / I will open up the doors to the sounds of living, and we will sing” For Lizzy, observation leads to awe, awe to gratitude, gratitude to celebration, and celebration to song.
Hailing from the vast alpine landscapes and eight-thousand-foot altitudes of Colorado’s Gunnison Valley, Lizzy makes music that springs from her own deep well of reverence for the natural world. Her years studying environmental science in Colorado’s high country ground her music in a profound understanding of the relationship between humans and the environment. Her musical roots run deep, too. Lizzy was born in Nashville to a father (the late Stephen Plotkin) who played jazz, country, bluegrass, and swing, and whom she cites as her primary musical influence. Lizzy’s fiddling, singing, and songwriting display all of these varied influences – one moment a sweet Appalachian tune, the next a gritty blues melody. Her sound was honed over years of playing in bands with Colorado mountain musicians, teaching music, and co-founding the band Free the Honey. Driven by collaboration and mindful exploration, Lizzy Plotkin makes music that heals and inspires.
As a solo act, Lizzy has played stages, festivals, house concerts, theatres and listening rooms across the country. In these shows she shares original and traditional fiddle tunes, and accompanies her voice with either fiddle, guitar or mandolin. Lizzy likes to reimagine and honor old-time, blues, bluegrass and gospel traditionals and the precious songs by her favorite musical storytellers who are no longer with us like Kate Wolf, Townes Van Zandt, and John Hartford.
Lizzy has appeared live and recorded with folk acts such as Martha Scanlan, John Fulbright, Grandfather Gold, We Dream Dawn and Trout Steak Revival; shared stages with electronic artist The Polish Ambassador (with whom she played at Red Rocks) and Pure Prairie League, Anya Hinkle or Tellico, mandolinist Drew Emmit of Leftover Salmon, and many more. Lizzy’s studio sessions have created violin tracks for The Polish Ambassador’s Prayer for Rain and Woman Believer’s (Vulfpeck) 2018 release Ode to Destiny’s Child. She toured from 2012 to 2016 with The harmony-driven roots trio Free the Honey and played the stages of Music City Roots and Bill Monroe’s Bean Blossom at The John Hartford Memorial Festival, where Lizzy won 2nd place at the in the John Hartford Songwriting Competition for her chiropractic love song “Crooked Child”.