No Turn Left Behind is the debut album from singer/songwriter Lisa Said. This singer/songwriter/guitarist was born in Cairo (!) and was transplanted first to Memphis (Tennessee, not Egypt!) and then to Chattanooga. Moving to New York to finish her studies and then to Asheville, North Carolina, her travels took her to D.C. to record the album at the legendary Inner Ear Studios and to have the album co-produced by equally-legendary Inner Ear owner Don Zientara. This maiden collection of eleven tracks are a wonderful mix of roots-rock, pop and some off-kilter time; her voice is soothing and warm and it’s a perfect balance.
Starting with the almost-Zydeco gallup of “Hard To Brake” (nice play on words), this album is off and running, filled with instant likeability; a very capable team of musicians backing her, you get a feeling from Ms. Said that she doesn’t lack confidence in her songs even though this is her first release. “In Retrospect” has an airiness that has flavors of country/honky tonk and pure pop that works and is a fast favorite; “For Today” has a delicious semi-country flavor mixed with a danceability, while her voice just reaches into you as “Once In A While” goes pure country with sweeping fiddle and twangy riffs and crisp sound. “No Turns” is bouncy while possessing a certain melancholia (fine use of Hammond and strings) and “One Too Many” is a sweet, piano-driven track with a dense, just-right series of guitar runs which ends the album on a high and satisfactory note.
There can be no question that Ms. Said has made me an immediate fan; everything about this album is right; she has the gift of constructing memorable songs; quality melodies and smart (probably beyond her years) lyrics. Seek this album out – you’ll understand what I’m saying on first listen.
No Turn Left Behind is available now