Description of Music
With a compelling mix of tempos and styles that embrace hints of urban, world, Latin, funk and pop, Lively’s songs fully capture her compassionate nature and love of community.
An eclectic blend of alternative folk music bringing together a variety of stringed and percussive instruments, balanced by expressive lyrics.
After raking blueberries in Maine as a migrant farm worker and living in South America with her husband to do volunteer work in impoverished areas, Lively observed how strongly music connected people. Her music, she says, is an expression of that experience, filled with representative themes: “Community, living in solidarity with those around you. Feeling what other people’s struggles and joys are and being connected with them.” Her latest album Uncovering Stones truly shows how she feels those connections deeply – and when you listen, you will, too. It is an inspiring album full of energy and beauty.
Alternative, indie, neo-folk music that speaks to dreamers, artists, laborers - all of us alike. Lively strikes a chord with the root of humanity, singing about hope, loss and love.
Contemporary folk music with an eclectic blend of world influences.
Keywords: Eclectic, Diverse, Hopeful, Expressive, Raw, Inspiring, Pure, Passionate, Beautiful, Sweet, Authentic, Moving, Honest, Powerful, Fearless, Warm, Energetic, Unique
Musical Genres: Singer-Songwriter / Folk / Americana / World / Latin / Soul / Funk / Pop
"Recorded by Keith Gary in Austin, Vanessa Lively’s fourth album is a fine example of Spanish flecked Americana, the sort of thing that Texas’ great music city is renowned for. Relentlessly accessible thanks to a style which owes just as much to classic pop songwriters, she places her words amongst an evocative selection of roots instruments (charango, violin, mandolin, trumpet) and the results are languid Latin ballads, alt. country laments and upbeat folk rock. Impossible to truly pigeonhole, Lively’s a musical adventurer, and “Uncovering Stones” reflects her passions and tastes. “Digging Up Dirt” marks an ideal opening, with her voice cajoling whilst the subtlest of Caribbean rhythms play out. “Men In White Hats” is altogether gentler, and displays an uncanny talent for pitch-perfect song craft. That’s followed by “Honeybee”, a faultless roots-pop song, which in some parallel universe would become a staple of daytime radio."
- Rob F., Leicester Bangs (Leicester, England)
"Austin’s Vanessa Lively is a true multidiscipline artist. She’s a singer, songwriter, musician and painter with a do-it-yourself attitude and a compassionate spirit. The beautiful mosaic artwork on her new CD, Uncovering Stones, is an original piece that she painted on 42 smaller canvases. She sold each of them to fund the recording and production of the disc. Uncovering Stones, not unlike that painting, is an earthy pastiche of styles. The San Antonio native combines folk, reggae, world beat, Americana, bluegrass and funk into a batch of 12 empowering songs that reflect her varied personal and musical influences. Lively, now with four albums to her credit, has spent time living in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. That explains her ease with the Spanish language. Two tracks on Uncovering Stones, “Estoy Volando” and “Baile Conmigo,” are sung in Spanish. In fact, Lively paid homage to late Argentinean singer Mercedes Sosa on her third effort, 2010’s Canto y Cantera."
- Mario Tarradell, The Dallas Morning News
"Through the Veil" and "Men in White Hats" aptly demonstrate Vanessa Lively's polished songwriting across the eclectic musical pantheon, but her calling lies in her puro Americano confluence of American roots and border music ("Estoy Volando," "Baile Conmigo"), such songs dominating her previous Canto y Cantera. That's not to suggest that her country ("Honeybee") and folk ("Follow Your Heart") aren't as weighty, only that the road between San Antonio and Austin is paved with guitars, and she strikes a chord in Spanish.
- Margaret Moser, The Austin Chronicle
"San Antonio-born, Austin-based singer-songwriter, Vanessa Lively's new album, Uncovering Stones, is an eclectic world exploration of the universal language of music. Whether singing in Spanish or English, Lively is extremely aware and connected to the people of the world, describing the album's themes as "feeling other people's struggles and joys and being connected with them." This connection isn't just talk, but through her life experiences as a migrant farm worker raking blueberries in Maine and volunteering in South America's impoverished areas with her husband, Lively has created a solid album possessing 12 pretty songs varying in styles. And, even though, all of the songs on Uncovering Stones are worthy, it's the Latin songs like "Estoy Volando" and "Baile Conmigo" that make an impression."
- April Wolfe, Common Folk Music
"Vanessa Lively gave the most passionate performance of a song I have ever seen."
- Matt Peyton, A Truer Sound
"Folk music on fire with worldly rhythms and a Latin pulse that Lively – now locally based – masters fluidly."
- Margaret Moser, The Austin Chronicle
"San Antonio-born, Austin-based Lively crafts acoustic music with strong lyrics and world-music underpinnings."
- Jim Beal, San Antonio Express-News
"Vanessa Lively and her husband Jason, recorded [Canto y Cantera] in honor of Mercedes Sosa, who died last October... it's a splendid introduction to a powerful genre."
- John Conquest, Third Coast Music Magazine
About the Songs
1. Digging Up Dirt - Folk-reggae, featuring drums & bass | about my own personal transition home to the U.S. after living in South America for a few years, the journey into acceptance & finding inner peace, which was helped along by gardening & meditation
2. Through The Veil - Folk, acoustic, duo harmony | about the recent loss of my friend Michelle’s father to cancer, her story of her struggle to find peace. Michelle sings harmonies
3. Estoy Volando - in Spanish - Latin-folk/world featuring fiddle | “I Am Flying” this song is an expression of full freedom & living your dream, but not being able to expect anything from anyone but yourself
4. Men In White Hats - Folk, acoustic featuring charangos | this is a song I like to leave open for interpreta- tion - it is one of those that just “came” to me, touches on injustice & separation
5. Honeybee - Americana, folk, bluegrass fusion featuring banjo & fiddle | I wrote this for a friend who needed support & family after feeling abandoned, helping her to find direction & purpose
6. The Lost Boys - Down-tempo folk, earthy rhythm | about the Sudanese refugees (called “The Lost Boys”) who escaped during the second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005) - it is about their struggle & their fight for life
7. Follow Your Heart - Folk-rock, featuring drums, bass, electric guitar | about trusting yourself, living your dream, getting rid of fear & doubt
8. Learning To Breathe - Down-tempo folk featuring violin & bowed bass | about growing up & learning to let go of the past, freeing yourself
9. Princess Song - Americana, folk featuring lap steel & banjo | about a princess who is being used by the spirit world after losing her love
10. Baile Conmigo - in Spanish - Latin-folk/world featuring trumpet, lively & upbeat | “Dance With Me” this is a love song, sung from the point of view of the women who’s husband just past away, romantic & sad, full of longing. I wrote this after my cousin passed away from a brain aneurism. This is their story told by his wife
11. Playing Games - Acoustic, folk, raw | this is about confusion, difficulty in relationships, tricks of the mind & heart, trying to find answers when you can’t see clearly
12. Skeletons - Folk-funk, featuring drums & bass | about letting go of anything that you hide or hold onto that doesn’t help you, moving away from grudges, painful memories, loss, & beginning to liberate yourself fully