Liz Brasher is champing at the proverbial bit for the release of her debut album. But even though Painted Image — whose “Blood of the Lamb” is premiering exclusively below — isn’t out until Jan. 18, Brasher is happy to have advance vinyl in hand and its release in sight.
“I’ve waited my whole life for this moment, so it’s pretty exciting,” the Memphis-based singer-songwriter tells Billboard. But Brasher reveals that the feeling isn’t one that’s shared within her family.
Raised in a religious family of Dominican Republic immigrants and church singers in her native Charlotte, N.C., Brasher was a theology student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago before moving into secular music. And that embrace of secular music has not sat well back home. “My family does not support what I do,” Brasher explains. “My dad and I do not speak to one other. It’s unfortunate, I know. You wish everybody would be appreciative of what I do, and that this is what I want do. But unfortunately it’s not.” Brasher doesn’t feel that much of the material on Painted Image deals with that situation explicitly, although she acknowledges that it can’t help but creep in.
“You can hear some of it, I’m sure,” she says. “Even in ‘Blood of the Lamb,’ I’m dealing with a hypocritical situation. It’s frustrating; You can’t make somebody see your point of view, so you write a song that hopefully makes seem see it. It’s, like, this allegorical study of how complex we are as human beings, our good vs. our evil and what it is we’re seeking out and how we can have reconciliation amidst that.
“I think all of us are connected to that feeling of ‘You’re not good enough’ or dealing with issues of pride and guilt and how you atone for that. And there’s nothing I write that can’t be applied to myself as well.”
Musically, meanwhile, “Blood of the Lamb” came from Brasher’s initial delving into Mississippi Delta blues and Gospel — part of a musicology self-education that’s took her from Chicago and Atlanta to Memphis last year, where she recorded Painted Image at Ardent, Royal and Electraphonic Recording studios. “I think (moving) has had a really great impact,” Brasher says. “Until I got out of the South I didn’t start appreciating Southern music. When I started living in Chicago I was really confronted with my lack of music history knowledge, so it was great to get out of that context and look at it from a larger view. It had a really good influence on me.”
Brasher is no stranger to the road and has opened for Blondie, the Psychedelic Furs and the Zombies — all of which she deems “an incredible honor.” Brasher is currently putting tour plans together to support Painted Image and is looking forward to having exponentially more material to offer audiences when she plays. “I take from a lot of different influences,” she says, “and I just think the way that it works together is the fact it’s me and it’s my voice that’s uniting all these different styles and forms. As much as I want to try to write in the style of people who influenced me, I have my own unique life and style of playing. I don’t know if it’s cohesive or not, but it feels genuine.”