Passenger

Lisa Hannigan evidently has a thing for birds. On her second solo album since leaving long-time collaborator Damien Rice, the Irish singer-songwriter nods lyrically to Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" ("Little Bird"), trills intimacies to someone named Bird ("Nowhere to Go") and stretches the word itself into ornate, melodic flight patterns ("Passenger"). There’s kinship, to be sure: Her voice is light and agile, her phrasing like exquisite plumage, and her folksy songs move with deceptive power, sailing on guitars, strings and Irish drama. She's a main attraction now, although a pairing with Ray LaMontagne ("O Sleep") is a reminder of how sweet, and drop-dead sexy, a duet partner she can be. Fly on, sister. 

Listen to "Lille":

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From The Archives Issue 1144: November 24, 2011