Daily Discovery: Liv Greene Outgrows the Single Spotlight with “Wishing Well”

When you think about Boston music, it’s usually the Rock that comes to mind.  The Pixies, Aerosmith, Dropkick Murphys and Mission of Burma, among hundreds of others, plugged in and rocked out. But rock’s quieter cousin, Folk, has also been a mainstay. From the hallowed halls of Club Passim across the Charles River in Cambridge, Folk posits itself nightly on single spotlight stages. That’s where you’d find young Folk ingénue Liv Greene.  

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A student of the Appalachian folk and roots tradition, Greene’s style of acoustic folk hints at a musical lineage that descends from the classic country strains of Gillian Welch and Dar Williams. Unassumingly charming with a velvety voice that’s free of gravelly textures, she envelops a forlorn loneliness that’s at once poignant and crushing. At a mere 21 years old, there’s history in her delivery even if her age betrays it.

Her single “Wishing Well” from her debut album Every Bright Penny encapsulates that melancholic ache in her voice, putting her emotional osmosis on overdrive. It’s a power that she’s harnessed so craftily and she wields it like a master swordsman. “‘Wishing Well’ is the oldest song on the record. I started writing it in my junior year of high school,” she says, gently contradicting your natural assumption of her actual age. “[It’s] about the age-old story of moving on, and all the ways the heart and mind stay stuck during that process. Of course the story became more real to me as I got older, and I think it resonated even more deeply when that happened.”

Assembling a reputable cast of Boston’s Folk elite such as Isa Burke (Lula Wiles), Grace Ward (Houndsteeth), Maddie Witler (Lonely Heartstring Band) and renowned NYC drummer Sean Trischka, Greene creates an immersive atmosphere with her breezy folk that tugs at heartstrings without being cloying.To me, [‘Wishing Well’] speaks to that quiet glimmer of hope we hold on to in our mind, sometimes even subconsciously, that things will work out in the end,” she says optimistically. “It’s about how coming to terms with that hope can help you to understand your own feelings, but it’s also about how that hope can hurt you. Sometimes we hold on because we won’t let ourselves let go, and sometimes we do it because we know our story with that person is not finished.”

Her sentiment, like her music, is wise beyond her years. With her debut album’s release date imminent, her reciprocal ability to relate and be relatable makes the curious prospect of seeing where this ingénue goes next makes her an artist to keep attuned to. “[‘Wishing Well’] speaks to the middle ground, and to the process of admitting, to yourself and others, that that’s exactly where you are.”

Where Liv Greene will be soon however will be outgrowing those stages with that single spotlight… and perhaps in time, if “Wishing Well” is any indication, Boston will be more accurately known as a Rock AND Folk city.

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