Current Issue Details

Buy Current Issue

Reviews > CDs

Published: 2001/09/19
by Stefan Low

It’s About Time – Billy & Liza

SCI Fidelity Records 1010

Billy Nershi and Liza Oxnard have been trying to get this recording out for
a long time. At least, that's what the liner notes say. It all started, they
tell us, in 1990, in Telluride, CO. Since then they've been spending time in
different bands – Nershi with The String Cheese Incident and Oxnard with the
now-defunct Zuba – and have at long last reunited for this recording; thus
the title.

Both Billy and Liza contribute songs to this release, sometimes writing
together. They harmonize nicely, and trade off rhythm guitar duties
hand-in-hand with authorship. The sound is filled out very well by Christian
Teele's drumming, Ross Martin's guitar leads, Chris Engleman's bass playing,
and Kyle Hollingsworth's keyboards. Several other folks lend additional
harmonies and percussion on various tracks; one gets the feel that a genuine
community of talented friends put this CD together.

The sound is pleasing, if less than remarkable overall. Some songs fare
better than others as complete works: Liza's vocals are much more kind to my
ear than Billy's. Likewise, her songs are more interesting lyrically. Billy
tends to employ both aphorsims and cliches in complete sentences; Liza seems a bit more open
to the passing image, the fleeting emotion.

My favorite track on the CD is easily Shantytown. Despite some
paint-by-numbers lyrics ("Lets go out in the woods tonight/Come on everybody
it'll be alright/Everybody's gonna gather 'round/Gonna light the fire when
the sun goes down"), Billy and Liza wisely let the band run on this one-
Ross Martin's electric guitar is fantastic and Christian Teele's groove take you there, from the
pseudo-reggae verses through the full-throttle jam.

Let's talk about the drumming. The most consistently amazing feature of this
CD, to my jaded ears, is Christian Teele's phenomenal kit work. He is master
of this recording, from each straight-up 4/4 to the sweet Caribbean shuffle
of Smile to the light brushwork of The City Goes By. This man
could be the next Steve Gadd if he's not careful. Let's keep an eye on this

As for Billy and Liza themselves, this CD is clearly the culmination of a
lot of work and inspiration. Andwhile it won't make it into my CD
player on a regular basis, it does demonstrate a lot of good feeling and
honest musicianship. Now when is Christian Teele making a record?

Show 0 Comments