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Published: 2006/07/19
by Katie Mavrich

Bird on a Wing – Liza


Long-time fans of jambands certainly recall the band Zuba, a Colorado-based project that garnered popularity in the 1990s, most notably for soundtrack appearances in There’s Something About Mary and King Pin. Zuba broke up in 1999, and at the same time, singer, songwriter, and guitarist Liza Oxnard ended a long-term relationship and lost two grandparents and an uncle. It was then that she decided to take her music in a different direction and began writing the songs that appear on her first solo album, Bird on a Wing. In the interim, she released It’s About Time in 2001 with The String Cheese Incident’s Billy Nershi.

Liza reached deep down to cull inspiration for the songs on Bird on a Wing, focusing on love, loss, and personal reflection. She’s called it her “most rewarding as a songwriter” and she couldn’t have been more on the mark. Ergo, Liza’s first solo effort sounds more like that of an experienced singer/songwriter and lacks long drawn out improvisational jams. Her voice is absolutely amazing — melodic and almost haunting — and hooks the listener immediately on the opening track, “Take me Back.” It meshes perfectly with the songs she has penned.

The melancholy ballad “I Gave it Away” has a bluesy feel, and Liza pays homage to her late grandfather’s love of the jazz on “Gone Tomorrow,” which she wrote when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. And “This Time” showcases Liza’s ability to all out rock. Other musical influences on the recording are pop, folk, and even hip-hop. What’s particularly interesting about the album is that while the songs were written some number of years ago, they still sound fresh and modern. If anything, Bird on a Wing clearly shows that when songs are deeply personal to the artist, the outcome reflects that — especially when the artist is as talented as Liza. She can clearly hold her own as a musician.

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