Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Singer/songwriter Lizzie West is a wandering spirit, matching the heartbreak of Neko Case and the crass humor of Lucinda Williams and Kristin Hersh. West was born in Brooklyn in 1973 and spent most of her young life frolicking across North America. The works of Jack Kerouac, Walt Whitman, and Ralph Waldo Emerson inspired her and Leonard Cohen moved her, so naturally writing was pretty normal for West. Poems and prose were her permanent escape, her home sweet home. At age 18, West moved to London in search of a place. Four years later, she landed in Nashville, bought an acoustic guitar from a local pawn shop, and began a grassroots effort to make music. Not one to settle down for too long, West headed back to New York City to get her career moving. She started performing at her sister's bar, the Stinger, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Two of West's songs -- "Dusty Turnaround" and "Sometime" -- caught HBO's attention and found their way into a movie. West took her paycheck from HBO and recorded the first edition of Holy Road: Freedom Songs. She handcrafted each CD case and sold them at shows. Several months later, West's song "Holy Road" was featured in a Spike Lee commercial, giving West extra funds to press an additional 1,000 copies of her debut album and put herself on tour in 2000. During this jaunt across the country, West met her hero, Leonard Cohen, and formed a unique bond. West realized she needed to stay in one place for a while, so she headed back to Manhattan and played her heart out in city subways. Warner Bros. caught wind of West's wispy vocal beauty and offered her a contract. A self-titled EP was issued in November 2002; Holy Road: Freedom Songs was reworked with a few new tracks, finally making its major-label debut in April 2003. Three years later, West released I Pledge Allegiance to Myself, her first for Appleseed Recordings.