Lizzie Flynn record review by Ian Dearden

Record Review by Ian Dearden

You And The Open Sky, the third solo album by Brisbane songstress Lizzie Flynn, is jam packed full of songs that creep quietly into your heart, and then just stay there!! Privileging quality over quantity, the nine songs in this collection were recorded in Brisbane, Melbourne, Geelong and Yamba, mixed by Dave Neil at The Refinery, and released in 2017. The artwork and album packaging is top drawer, there’s a comprehensive album booklet with lyrics, credits and an extensive list of thank you’s – it’s clear an album of this quality involves at least a village, if not a small town, in the making!!

The album (unsurprisingly) revolves around Lizzie’s honeyed and understated vocals, wrapped around her deeply emotional and personal songwriting, all presented in a style that she describes as country folk. The ensemble musical arrangements and performances are a constantly unfolding treat – in particular, the superb and entrancing backing vocals, arranged and sung by Lisa Couper, which lift each of the songs on which she performs (eight of the nine on the album).  String arrangements by Anthony Lyons on Awakening and Cold Light bring both of those tracks to a new level, and the fiddle and banjo playing from George Jackson is particularly noteworthy.

And so to the songs – love, joy, sorrow and heartbreak are all on the menu.  The piano and banjo driven Prisoner In My Own Town sets the template from the outset – confessional, entrancing, with Lisa Couper’s stacked backing vocals wrapping around Lizzie’s gorgeous lead vocal. Awakening features the Lizzie lead/Lisa backing vocal combo again – this time with George Jackson’s fiddle out front of the warm and enveloping string arrangement, over a country shuffle.  Beautiful Something is a shift of gear – a simple and understated ballad vocal from Lizzie over piano (Andrew Pobjoy) and heartbreakingly sweet pedal steel (Paul Agar).

Then there’s free advice from Lizzie’s mama (“Joy follows sorrow”) wrapped up in a classic uptempo country rocker, It Takes A Lot Not To End Up Dead, with its wry analysis of the past, and the future!!   Some of that wry optimism seeps into Cold Light, which again features the tri-partite combination of Lizzie’s honeyed vocals and Lisa’s exquisite backing vocals underpinned by the sweetest of string arrangements. Diamond is an uptempo, unabashed love song, with the lead and backing vocals floating over the combination of acoustic guitar (Alex Neil) and country fiddle (George Jackson).

From there Lizzie implores the protagonist of Dig In not to give in, even in the heat of the desert. Another track with the killer combo of Lizzie and Lisa in a vocal call and response treatment. Then a chance encounter with Lizzie’s past brings the startling admission from a high school admirer about his wife –  “She has dark hair and eyes that are blue, could have been your double, it’s true, it’s true,  I Married Someone Just Like You”. The banjo-driven track belies the ambivalence that underlies its premise!!

The album wraps up with Lizzie articulating the heartbreak and conflict of a wife and mother, grappling with a partner’s infidelity, struggling to come to terms with The Truth.  A searing lead guitar break from Heath Skerman leads into poignant final verse – “It’s so easy to say forever, So quick to pledge your life, I remember candles burning, And your hand, your hand in mine”.

And so it seems that joy can so easily lead to sorrow and heartbreak, but hopefully, back to joy again – in this superb album, we follow Lizzie down all the highways and byways of life’s journeys, wherever they may lead. Join her on the journey – you won’t regret it. Find out more at, and catch her live with her band Lizzie Flynn and The Reckoning.

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