Singer's music reflects her mature perspective
By Steven Uhles
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Art and environment are inexorably entwined for musician Liz Durrett.

The soft-spoken Athens, Ga.-based singer-songwriter, whose music is
often compared with that of Cat Power or her uncle Vic Chesnutt, said
her quiet, sometimes dark songs are the product of her conflicted
relationship with the South and a muse discovered early on.

"I guess it started when I was still in my teens," said Miss Durrett,
who performs Saturday at The Soul Bar on Broad Street. "I lived with
my parents and didn't have a place to play, so I would be in my
bedroom, playing quietly, because I didn't want my parents to hear me.
It's something I became accustomed to, playing like that. It became
difficult for me to sing out."

For much of last year, Miss Durrett promoted Husk, a collection of
demos recorded while she was in her teens. Recently, she completed
work on The Mezzanine, which she sees as a more accurate reflection of
her aesthetic.

"It's really my first adult record," she said with a laugh. "So I
can't hide behind naivet anymore. But I'm also not as embarrassed by
this record. I couldn't listen to Husk. It just made me cringe,
reminded me too much of being a teenager.

"I feel much more sure of what I'm doing now."

Returning to her native Georgia after living for a few years in
California, Miss Durrett found she was ready to embrace the things she
loved about the South and react to those she didn't. It's a theme in
many of Mezzanine's songs, but she says she doesn't see the tunes as
any sort of political statement. Success for her is something more
subtle, a feeling she sometimes gets when she hears certain songs.

"There are those songs you hear that almost make you sick, that are so
powerful that you react physically, and that's what I want," she said
with a laugh. "I want to make people sick."