By John Benson
Canton-based musician Brian Lisik has quite a history of playing gigs in Youngstown. However, the roots rocker’s Saturday show marks his debut at The Lemon Grove.
“I heard The Lemon Grove is the place to be in Youngstown,” Lisik said. “I go way back with bands that would play Cedars in the mid-’90s. It’s been a market that we’ve built on the way to Pittsburgh, so I’m looking forward to getting back in there. It’s been several years but we’ve always been well received.”
Getting out and touring is currently what Lisik has in mind to support his third solo effort “The Mess That Money Could Buy.” Among the new album’s highlights are the laid-back “To California,” the violin-heavy “Yesterday Wasn’t Real,” the upbeat “Change on Your Own,” the country-tinged “I’m Satisfied” and the rocking “Small Town Royal Family.”
It turns out time was on Lisik’s side when he decided to record the follow-up to his 2006 effort “Happiness Is Boring.” Obviously, the local musician didn’t rush the project but he did let the material breathe a bit, which he believes is evident in the quality of tunes.
“Definitely the last couple of album have been more of a ‘go in and turn the tape recorder on and bash out a record’,” Lisik said. “This one, part of it was just practicality and finding the right studio. We took it to different places and also it gave us time to think the songs through. The result is they’re deeper, I guess, lyrically and musically. We had time to live with these songs a little bit longer than we normally give ourselves when we go in the studio.”
Not only did Lisik and his group live with the songs more, but they actually created acoustic treat-ments and band jams.
“That really gave me time to hear them a couple of different ways,” Lisik said. “I think the end result is really good.”
He added that both in sound and songwriting, this new project stands tall over his earlier material. In fact, having an open mindset is something he said he’s embraced regarding his earlier catalog material, which is now getting a face- lift of sorts.
Despite his maturation as an artist, Lisik said the comparisons fans and critics give him remain the same.
“I’m hearing a lot of what I always get, Bruce Springsteen and The Replacements kind of sound,” Lisik said. “But now people are saying I’m bringing in more of the Rod Stewart and Faces sort of thing, from the early ’70s, which I think makes sense. That’s what I heard these songs as, anyway.”
Being a Northeast Ohio guy trying to make a living playing music isn’t always easy. Still, Lisik said he’s committed.
“I play pretty little songs for ugly little lives,” he said. “Hopefully, people will continue to enjoy my humor approach to pop rock.”