Lisa Bastoni “How We Want to Live” (Independent, 2019)

Hailing from progressive Massachusetts, and labelled as ‘folk’ award-winning Bastoni, it seems, actually keeps her feet firmly rooted in traditional country music. Many of the tracks on this album, mostly a collection of break-up songs all written as her marriage was ending, would sit well on any elite female country/folk/blues artists album, including the one cover and the longest track on the album which is a beautiful, very secure version of Dylan’s ‘Workingman’s Blues #2′.

Although sometimes leaning towards mournful, the tracks are, without a doubt, wonderfully poetic, and the bright, attractive tone of Bastoni’s vocal keeps steering them back to a courageous, brave mood. The album benefits from several guest musicians/vocalists and the use of subtle harmonies littered throughout several of the tracks enhance their mood and give solid depth to the stories.

Nearby’ is an excellent opening track, one of the more upbeat ones on the album, with catchy hooks. It draws you in to want to hear more. Next up, the title track ‘How we Want to Live‘, changes the atmosphere slightly but is an engaging, unusual and mature break-up song. ‘Walk a Little Closer‘ embodies a longing sentiment smoothly portrayed with a buoyant attitude and is full of alluring instrumentation, keeping the album alive and captivating. In contrast to its title, the closing track ‘Pocket Full of Sighs’ is wonderfully dreamy and hopeful.

It doesn’t look as though Bastoni travels far from her homeland, but having moved on from busking in Boston, it would be great to have her step out of her comfort zone and cross the pond!

Bright, attractive and wonderfully poetic

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