Lizzie No’s new album, Halfsies, finds No situated among her peers while still searching for freedom — freedom from the constraints of categorization, sure, but more importantly, freedom from the depths of her own personal despair and from an increasingly violent and nightmarish American cultural and political landscape.
On Halfsies, No’s writing is beautifully intricate, the personal and the political folding into each other as naturally as the patchwork of influences that inform the album’s twelve tracks. From the desolation and loneliness of “The Heartbreak Store,” to the roadworn rock of “Annie Oakley,” to the sprawling mid-apocalyptic yearning of “Babylon,” No’s writing throughout the record serves as a living conversation with her influences — not just musical but literary — reflecting her reverence for a host of the great voices who came before her, from Lucinda Williams to Toni Morrison, and her search for a connection between them.
The collection of collaborators on Halfsies gives the album a sense of community; of voices raised together in a call to arms. That synthesis of personal and political courses through Halfsies, No’s identity as a songwriter owing as much to her musical influences as it does to her activism (an outspoken activist and civil rights advocate, No was recently named President of the Abortion Care of Tennessee Board of Directors).
Toni Cade Bambara said, “the role of the artist is to make revolution irresistible,” and with Halfsies, Lizzie No aims to do just that.