Memphis singer and guitarist Liz Brasher does more than just recreate the sound of old soul music. She captures its tortured spirit, and on the new live recording of her song “Hard Times on Me” it makes for a particularly ghoulish encounter.
Filmed for Jam in the Van, a traveling recording studio and YouTube channel that features performances shot inside a solar-powered RV, “Hard Times on Me” conjures an ancient sense of heartache with a touch of the psychedelic. Medicine, voodoo – nothing will cure Brasher’s dusky, wailing moans, which are cut through by her fuzzy, snarling guitar playing.
Though it bears the mark of electric rock & roll, the song’s plainspoken anguish echoes the desperation of a Delta blues-at-the-crossroads — and that’s no coincidence for Brasher, who grew up in the South before making a detour to Chicago. “It became very evident that I needed to live in the South again and I have a new perspective on the history of music, that it came primarily from a place of suffering,” Brasher told Rolling Stone Country in April.
Brasher unveiled a new EP Outcast, her first release for Fat Possum, at the end of last month, and plans to release a full-length later this year. She plays City Winery in Nashville on May 30th.