Last night, the Twin Cities saw the return of Nashville-based songwriter extraordinaire Liz Longley. Pandemic aside, it’s been a while since her last visit through Minnesota. We caught up with her before the show to talk about life, music, and the new road ahead. Her last soiree was back in 2019 supporting Delta Rae, which she remembers fondly.
“I always love a Minnesota audience. Everyone is so kind and welcoming. I’m lucky to have family in the area, so it always feels good to be there,” Liz shares.
Longley’s seventh album and most ambitious project yet, Funeral For My Past, is another landmark moment in an already career-defining journey. While the album deals with resolve and peace from a bad relationship, Funeral comes across as a celebration of life.
For starters, even getting the album released was a difficult scenario. After two prior records with her label, it changed hands and they alerted Longley that it would be best for her to buy back the rights and release it herself. She launched a Kickstarter and in 30 days had 1,302 people contribute to earning back the album.
Now finally able to tour and bring these new songs to the intimate 7th Street Entry, among all her Lizards, was a delightful night to witness.
“That really launched a whole new relationship with my fans and a real understanding of their support for my music,” Longley confesses.
Longley sprinkled in many songs from the release. “Long Distance” silenced the room in the sad sentiments of a detached relationship. While her performances of “Sending You My Love” and the sultry “Torture” riled up the thirsty crowd. Her acoustic takes of “3 Crow” and “Funeral for My Past” beautifully engaged and hit on the cunning songwriting that Longley excels at.
Another huge decision in her life was moving to Nashville. Longley has always loved songwriting, but now being in a city where the level of dedication is so high to the craft motivates her even more. This also opened up additional doors to collaborating, which she confesses was set in her own way. Co-writing makes you realize there are many different ways to approach songwriting.
Living in Nashville has also added a bit of pressure when putting on a show. Growing up she was all about sharing stories and playing intimate shows, which she thrives on. Now when playing in Nashville and not having a light show and fireworks, it adds pressure in other ways to entertain.
It didn’t disappoint here as “Camero” revved everyone up, giving the Entry a feel of a Nashville Broadway bar. Her performance of “Memphis” lured back that Nashville hometown country influence as well. It was apparent last night that the strength in Longley’s voice is in the way it connects to her listeners. They are lyrically relevant songs that dig deep inside and make you think about your own relationships, good or bad.
The most recent landmark moment has been getting married and subsequently pregnant, which introduces new challenges when touring. But having an incredibly stable and joyful home life has made writing a bit harder. Anyone that knows her music, knows that there’s always a tension between a dark and a light side. She laughs,
“I always joke that I’ve built a career on breakup songs, and now that I’m happy, I don’t really know what’s coming next.”
As one of the hardest workers in the industry, Longley quickly attributes the people that come to her shows as the true motivator to keep going. I can attest to this attending prior shows, Longley takes the time after every show to talk to people, no matter the length. Those discussions are what she replays in her mind on tough days.
“I live for the feeling of connecting to people through music, and that happens a lot on stage, but it also happens after the show, taking time to talk with people, hearing their stories, and what music means to them.”