STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
What’s Liz Longley do for an encore after her eponymous 2015 Sugar Hill Records album was praised by “American Songwriter,” Huffington Post, CMT Edge and others?
Find out at an Oct. 26 performance in Ardmore. It’s one of 20 shows Longley and her band have booked this month.
It should include plenty of the bittersweet relationship tales from her latest release, “Weightless.” It’s her fifth album (plus an EP) in all, not counting the out-of-print “homemade records” she made while attending Berklee College of Music.
But before all that, she grew up in West Chester, then lived in Downingtown. “My Philly accent has faded. I learned that ‘wuder’ doesn’t fly in other areas,” Longley said with a laugh, noting that she moved to Nashville five years ago and lived in Boston five years before that.
Although she doesn’t have cable, Longley hears about it on Twitter @lizlongley every time one of her songs is heard on TV. “This is Not the End” was featured in the 2012 season finale of Lifetime’s “Army Wives,” while “Rescue My Heart” — which was re-recorded in a one-take, stripped-down, piano version on “Weightless” — made its way onto ABC’s “Switched at Birth” and MTV’s “Scream: The TV Series.”
“One (version) is produced kinda like a pop-electronic track,” she said of the as-heard-on-TV single version of “Rescue My Heart.” It’s available on iTunes.
A 10-song collection of starkly personal lyrics, “Weightless” was produced by Bill Reynolds, bassist and producer of Band of Horses. “I kinda feel free when I get really personal,” said Longley.
For example, the title track opens with a real-life breakup laundry list of who gets “the couch, the lamp, the diamond ring/the books on the shelf, the dishes in the sink …”
According to Longley, one of the new tracks that feels particularly vulnerable and honest is the Sheryl Crow-influenced “What’s the Matter.” Written in the studio while “Weightless” was being recorded, she said the song still feels like a diary entry.
“It’s just a matter of time till what’s the matter with me is what’s the matter with you,” she sings.
Longley said one of her strongest fan bases is in the New England states. “But it’s nothing like coming home to Philly, and getting my Wawa pretzel. That’s like a serious obsession of mine,” she said, laughing.
In a separate phone interview, WXPN’s Helen Leicht said that Longley’s appearance during the Philadelphia Folk Festival’s Thursday night campers concert was one of her favorite 2016 Folk Fest moments.