Division in the U.S. is what led Monica Rizzio to unite some good pals — Tom Rush, Patty Larkin and Mark Erelli specifically — for her new single, “Lady Liberty,” premiering exclusively below.
The Texas-born singer-songwriter, now living in Cape Cod, wrote “Lady Liberty” during 2017 as she watched the first year of the Trump presidency unfold. “Just being an independent woman, I really saw the division in our country and I wanted to write a song about it,” Rizzio tells Billboard. “I always felt (the Statue of Liberty) embodies that hope and opportunity for us and America. I wanted to write a song about unity and bring that unity back to America and how strong we are when we’re united. I’m just trying to say enough is enough and we need to start uniting together and stop dividing.”
Recruiting “Lady Liberty’s” guests was relatively easy, according to Rizzio. “I called Tom Rush and said, ‘I’ve got this song and I can’t think of anybody better for the male part than for you to chime in and sing,'” Rizzio says. Larkin and Erelli are friends and, in the latter’s case, an occasional co-writer. “I wanted three really strong voices,” Rizzio explains. “I feel like Tom Rush comes from that (protest) movement in the folk world. Patty Larkin represents that female independent side of it and Mark represents that newer side of folk music.”
Rizzio hasn’t decided if “Lady Liberty” will be part of the former Tripping Lily member’s sophomore solo album, which she’ll be recording during April in Nashville for an October release. Michael Rinne is producing, and Rizzio says that “we still have a big batch of songs we’re drawing from,” including co-writes with Mandy Smith, Gwen Sebastian, former Guster member Joe Pisapia and others. “I’m so fired up and ready, and Michael has incredible ideas and is ready to hit this with me. And I had the opportunity to co-write with a bunch of friends, whereas on the first album (Washashore Cowgirl) there wasn’t much co-writing. I’m really looking forward to making this one.”