SANDE LOLLIS: Being Human
Sandé Lollis is the embodiment of country. She’s soulful, with that pitch-perfect cry in her voice. When the award-winning vocalist belts out one of her tunes, you can feel the sawdust on the floor and taste the redeye the bartender is serving up with some cold Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.
For several years Lollis has used her band, Enter the Blue Sky, as her vehicle for her singing and the songs she writes. She has attracted talented musicians to the project, such as harmonica player John Seever and violist Karen Childress-Evans. Two of the best bassists I can think of, Jodie Hill and Paul Tillery, have been a part of Enter the Blue Sky. (In full disclosure, I briefly filled in while Lollis was between bass players.)
Lollis now steps out on her own with Being Human, giving us13 self-penned songs that she says “presents a snapshot of what life was like for me during the pandemic, through the BLM movement, through political unrest, through upheaval in family dynamics, and everything else we had been through since early 2020.”
The CD is beautifully packaged, with equally beautiful photography. The package includes a printed booklet of the lyrics. For a lot of folks raised on vinyl, the aesthetic appeal of a CD package can seem lacking, but it’s time for them to get over it. And, in this day of digital downloads, this CD package is a real treat.
The band, which includes bassist Rick Nash, drummer Josh Hermsmeier, keyboardist Josh Weinstein, and guitars by Jeff Berkley and Ted Stern, and singer Carissa Lynn Renner proves to be a solid unit.
I know that Lollis wanted to convey the feeling of going through the pandemic, which for many of us stuck at home day after day felt like watching the movie Groundhog Day while going through a time warp; so, there is a sameness from song to song, with little variation in tempos, chord changes, and arrangements. This may have been the intention, but a bit more variation would have made the nearly hour’s worth of music more enjoyable for me. Each song is nonetheless a gem, and Being Human will certainly please Lollis’ many fans.