Back Seat is the most potent album of the singer/songwriter’s career, nodding to the influences that have helped sharpen her own sound—including laidback R&B, melodic soul, and American roots music—while also pushing into contemporary, Triple A-friendly territory.
Album available September 6, 2019
Singles available now on your favorite streaming or download service.
The song is about taking a new direction in my career, especially now that kids are grown and on their own career paths. The song says, “I’m not willing to take a back seat, while my dreams pass me by.” The back seat is a metaphor for letting someone else shine for a while, in this case my kids. The song reflects the desire to shift gears and take control of the driver’s wheel once again to continue along my music journey. This song was written right after as significant birthday, and a bit of a hiatus when I had to really contemplate what was next for my career, or even if it would continue. It’s really almost an anthem for those empty nesters in my same shoes, encouraging them to continue to explore and expand upon aspirations that may have been put aside for a while.
The song was written during a huge rainstorm that necessitated being inside instead of out enjoying nature. The phrase “I can’t stand the rain” popped into my head, and the song flowed out from there. It’s about how so often emotions cloud reality, especially where romantic relationships are concerned. The rain is a metaphor for those emotions “clouding my vision” and getting in the way of being able to make the sometimes necessary but difficult decisions about a relationship. The song also speaks to being stuck in a bad situation due to the emotions – “clouds move by, why can’t I?”
I was at a retreat in the Pacific Northwest and was on a trail one morning that never seemed to end. It occurred to me that I was so focused on getting to the end that I wasn’t enjoying the journey. The phrase “The road is always longer when you’re searching for the end” came from that day. The song was written in an off-grid cabin in the woods. This was my 2nd writing session in the cabin, and then day before I slid and fell on a hike. I was forced to wear a leg brace for the entire time I was in the beautiful wilderness, only able to sit on the back porch instead of getting out for a hike or walk. The rest of the chorus came from that experience “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger if that lesson we befriend. The past is not the future it can’t define us don’t you know. So let it go, let it slide and keep on grooving, on the inside.” The song is about enjoying life’s journey no matter what the circumstances!
Getting past fear is the primary theme here. “Take me to the other side, to a place where I can’t hide.” The anxiety around doing anything new, or something that seems daunting can be paralyzing. The song plays on the anxieties we often feel in difficult and new situations and says that the only way to be free is to join the tides of change to help us float through the difficulties and land on “the other side” where we are whole and free, and the authentic person.
In any relationship, be it romantic, friendship or work, we may run into a situation where we feel that the other person’s expectations both seem out of whack and unclear. Staying in the situation for a long period of time without clear direction can lead to the ultimate frustration, and ultimately the need to move along. This is a bluesy song about finally getting the courage to say goodbye.
Depression is experienced by so many, yet it’s so often taboo to talk about. Many suffer in silence, locked away in virtual or actual darkness. It can feel like that darkness is constantly chasing after us, or conversely that we want to disappear into its safety. It’s only through the helpful light of others or spirituality that the window to normality can once again be opened.
The song tells the story of a relationship in trouble, and the desperate knowledge that things have to change significantly in order to save the love. No love is perfect, but without communication or connection, there can’t be a strong relationship. The sweet sentiment of someone deeply in love meets the frustration of the partner unable to express the words necessary to carry on.
In all loving relationships there are times when passion runs deep, and when the love feels frozen in place. Love ebbs and flows, just like the many seasons of the rivers here in Colorado. The river of love can be glorious, healing and raging. We can learn a lot about love by studying the rivers in our lives and learning to accept the seasonality of the waters that run so deep.
I was fortunate to travel to India several years ago, and this song tells the story of this wonderful yet dichotic country. The vibrant colors, architecture, spirituality, people and music are juxtaposed with the harsh living conditions, abject poverty, and pure chaos in the streets. My takeaway was that no matter how we judge another’s existence, love and happiness can be abundant in any situation. We can’t save them all, and in fact there is no need for saving at all.
I spoke to my husband one day while I’m my writing retreat, and he said, “it sounds like you’re really in the flow!” That phrase stuck and on that beautiful silky sunlit day on the back deck, this song was born! It’s about following the muse of life, letting the words, vision, and creativity flow forth. When you’re in the flow, the feeling of happiness abounds and everyone around knows it too.
In my entire musical career to this point, I had always co-written songs, never having the courage to write songs completely on my own. I never had the confidence in musical abilities to be able to compose, even though deep down I knew the training I had was more than adequate. As I entered the cabin in the woods for the first time, I set my things down and this song came pouring out fast. I am truly inspired by nature, and this song speaks to its influence and inspiration.
The “space between” refers to the level of understanding between two people that transcends the physical. It’s the layer of consciousness that allows for growth and exploration, beyond the safety and comfort of what we know. It’s the confidence to jump from our current reality into the realm of what could be. “We were never meant to stay the same, stuck here on the surface to remain.” This song sums up the overriding sentiment of this album nicely. It’s never too late to grow and explore, and in fact is necessary.
Americana by definition, jazz-inflected by class, Colorado’s roots singer-songwriter Lisa Bell repossesses her own imaginations and drive for a music careerwhile it’s been six years since her last full-length, her craft has only burned stronger and brighter and braver. 12 songs were born out of a secluded trip to a backwoods cabin; with producer Evan Reeves, Bell peels back layers of her voice like an onion newly uncovered from the earth. She’s flavorful but unpolished enough to crack and let the character dazzle the edges.