Philadelphia, PA—Battling elements seemed to be a recurring theme as singer/songwriter Lizanne Knott was recording and/or shooting video for what would become her aptly titled latest, Standing in the English Rain. The album, which has already been released on Knott’s UK label, Proper, is being readied for distribution in the U.S. next month (March 26 official release date), and if the title doesn’t already strike up a visual, hearing Knott describe its meaning will. “The last tour I embarked on in England was right after torrential rains,” she said. “Flooding had occurred and it continued to rain just about every day, leaving some roads impassable.”
That weather pattern was also prominent when Knott’s video crew came to Philadelphia to shoot for “Miss You.” Award-winning filmmaker Jonathan Beedle came down in a snowstorm with his crew, and they drove through the streets of Ambler PA, shooting that video. “It wasn’t planned that way but it worked,” said Knott.
Standing in the English Rain was recorded at Knott’s own MorningStar Studios in East Norriton, PA; Dreamland Studios and Jersville Studios in Woodstock, NY; and Quad Studios in Nashville TN, and it is the follow up to 2010’s HEAL Africa (benefit CD for that organization), which followed South of Graceland (2008) and Under the Burning Sky (2006). Each of those was released by Proper, whom Knott was introduced to by legendary BBC radio personality Bob Harris.
“I owe most of my success overseas to Bob, he’s been my staunchest supporter,” Lizanne said. “I’m not sure that it has affected my career here in the states, as one world doesn’t seem to affect the other. But I am hopeful with this new record that it will all come together among the U.S., the U.K. and all of Europe. It’s something I’m working toward.”
Knott, who wrote eight of the twelve songs on the new record and also wrote about twenty songs in all to choose from, has become a seasoned songwriter who frequents Nashville and is a regular at the Bluebird Café. Her Americana sound is shaped by the likes of those she has been compared to and others—from Julie Miller to Bonnie Raitt, Damien Rice, Paul Simon, and Janis Ian and more.”
In fact, some of the tracks were recorded in Nashville at Quad Studios with Kenny Vaughan, Craig Bickhardt and a group of “A” list players, and Ian had taken note of Knott’s music, offering to sing and play on some tracks there as well. “It was amazing to be in the studio with her,” Lizanne said. “She offered advice while being complimentary, and actually said that as a songwriter I was a ‘force to be reckoned with.’ I certainly never thought of myself that way.”
Knott, who was a finalist in the New York Songwriters Circle (Top 10 out of 4000 entries), says that her true honors have come from organizations she supports who choose her music for their causes. The National Coalition for the Homeless used a song she wrote for her daughter, “Carry You Home” and then had Lizanne perform at their National Awards Gala in Washington DC. Also, HEAL Africa has been able to fund operations for child rape victims in The Congo with a song and CD she donated to them. “I’ve made some truly wonderful lifetime friends in both organizations,” added Lizanne.
But while the elements of weather impacted the general tone of Standing in the English Rain, it was a real-life event that has cast a cloud of sadness over the U.S. release of the album for Lizanne as her long-time guitarist, Jef Lee Johnson, passed away in late January from complications to the flu and diabetes. “I’m still reeling from the shock,” she said. “Jef was an incredibly talented musician and a very close friend. I used to struggle with writing, always wanting my songs to be perfect. But the truth is, life is imperfect in every way, and so art should be as well. Jef taught me that –he gave me the freedom to know that what I was writing, my voice, the understated way I play my guitar was not only good enough; but that it was right, just as it should be.”
About Lizanne Knott
A long standing member of the Philadelphia music scene and managing partner of Grammy Award Winning MorningStar Studios, Lizanne Knott has been captivating audiences throughout the US and garnering accolades from radio listeners and peers around the globe. She has performed at some of the most prestigious listening venues in the US and throughout England, steadily gaining ground wherever the road takes her. A frequent featured artist on London’s acclaimed Bob Harris Show, BBC2 and other BBC stations; she also receives airplay on AAA radio throughout the US. A local favorite on Philadelphia’s award winning WXPN, her music has been placed in independent films, TV movies, documentaries and by national non-profit organizations. Her latest, Standing in the English Rain, features guest performances by folk legend Janis Ian, as well as Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Carly Simon, Sheryl Crow), a duet with longtime friend Melody Gardot, and more.
“Lizanne Knott is a beautiful talent. Soft spoken words, intelligent poetic lyrics and a voice that defies any age. A class act all the way around and beloved by her friends and fans alike. A rare artist.”– Tina Shafer – Artistic Director – New York Songwriter’s Circle
“Absolutely gorgeous music. We’ve rarely had as big a reaction to any artist in recent years that we’ve had for Lizanne Knott.”–Bob Harris, London BBC2
For more information including audio and video samples, please visit www.lizanneknott.com