Lisa Bouchelle is living up to her reputation as one of the hardest working musicians in the New Jersey music scene. In between a gig schedule that often sees her doing four or five local shows a week, heading out to do tour dates opening for major acts, and constantly writing and recording new songs in the studio, she somehow found the time to release a new EP, Lipstick Tomboy.
The EP is off to a fast start, already garnering over 350,000 streams on Spotify, and getting airplay on stations such as WXPN in Philadelphia, KCSN in Los Angeles, and Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM. In addition, the first single, a playful song she wrote with John Eddie and recorded as a duet with John Popper called “Only The Tequila Talkin’,” has started getting airplay on a number of country stations.
I caught up with the blonde temptress to ask her about Lipstick Tomboy, along with her live performances and what she has up her sleeve for the future.
How did the Lipstick Tomboy EP come about?
I had been working on a lot of new songs, and I was excited with the way the songs were coming out. They are very real, with organic instruments. Some were recorded with Jeff Trott, who has produced and co-written many of Sheryl Crow’s biggest hits, and who has collaborated with Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz and Stevie Nicks, among others. Another was a song I recorded as a duet with John Popper, and we did a great remix of that song. We actually did a “Fan Club Only” CD of a lot of my new songs, and the reaction was so good we wanted to get them out to more people. So we picked four of the songs and made them available in a digital format that is easily downloadable on iTunes and Amazon, and also streamable on Spotify and Apple Music. The reaction has been great, and it’s gotten a few hundred thousand streams on Spotify in the first few months it’s been out.
Who played on the EP, and how did you get the musicians together?
I am blessed to have great musicians around me who believe in my music and want to play on my records. This EP includes performances by musicians such as Jeff Trott, both John Popper and Brendan Hill from Blues Traveler, Roger Filgate from Wishbone Ash, Mike Rogers from Dee-Lite, Stephen DeAcutis, Jerry Steel, Ernie White, and Tom Reock. I tracked in several cities to facilitate everyone’s participation. I tracked some on the East Coast, some in Los Angeles, as well as in Seattle where John Popper lives.
How would you describe the music that you do?
I’d say my music runs the gamut from singer/songwriter, Americana, and alt-country, to rock. Even though I definitely have my own signature style and sound, I really am happy not be stuck in strictly one genre or niche market. I’m happy that my music seems to appeal to a lot of demographics.
How did the song “Only The Tequila Talkin’” come about, as far as involvement from Jersey favorite John Eddie, and then John Popper singing and playing on it?
I wrote the tune with John Eddie, who I think is just a great performer and songwriter. I came up with the hook, and thought, “Who’d be the perfect guy to write this with?” I immediately thought of John! After we finished writing the song, aided by a bit of tequila, of course, I had an idea… I called John Popper and told him about this fun, tequila drinkin’ song I’d written with John Eddie, and I asked him if he’d like to record it as a duet with me. I got to know John when I toured with Blues Traveler, and he and the band kind of took me under their wing since I was this girl from Jersey, driving all over the country by myself. He was totally down with the song. So I flew to Seattle, where he lives. We recorded our vocals and also had the good fortune to have Brendan Hill, the drummer of Blues Traveler, play on the track.
You’ve opened for a lot of big artists, such as Meat Loaf, Bryan Adams, Train, Ingrid Michaelson, and many others. Anything you’ve done recently that really excited you?
I had a great time kicking off the New Year in a show I opened for Willie Nile at the Union County Performing Arts Center. The audience was terrific from start to finish. Willie’s set was awesome. He invited me to jam with him and his band on a few tunes. It was what I’d call a Rockin’ Synergistic Experience! I performed earlier this month with the Reock & Roll Revue at The Kelsey Theatre in Mercer County to a sold-out crowd. We have plans for a tour in June and July, but I may go out as soon as the end of April. Once all of our plans are firmed up, we’ll be sure to get the tour dates listed on my website. I’m looking forward to getting out on the road for this tour.
What artists have influenced you?
I have a lot of varied influences. A lot of the classic folk artists, such as CSN&Y and Joan Baez, inspire me as a lyricist. I’m also very musically influenced by artists such as Stevie Nicks, Waylon Jennings, Bruce Springsteen, and Lady Gaga, who all have a unique, fearless approach to song arrangement, vocal quality, and delivery. I’ve learned a lot about live performance and how to “work the microphone” by chatting with, and watching, some great seasoned artists up close, such as Gary U.S. Bonds, Southside Johnny, and BJ Thomas.
You do a great cover of the Gordon Lightfoot song “If You Could Read My Mind” on the EP. What made you decide to take that on?
I was driving home late one night after a show, and I heard that tune on one of the SiriusXM stations… probably Deep Tracks. The song is written so well. Lyrically and musically, it creates such imagery. I wanted to do a version of the song that maintained what the writer intended, while giving it my own touch. We utilized pedal steel guitar and clean electric guitar in the production to create a fluid feel. The beats-per-minute are syrupy slow, in a lovely way. I like to call the tempo of the track, “The speed of thoughts and dreams…”
Are there any particularly funny or interesting stories from all your recent travels?
There’s one that I was just reminded of by a fan on Facebook! When my band was just beginning a two-month tour a couple years ago, we hit the stage in Columbus, Ohio, and I opened our set by enthusiastically yelling, “Hello, Cleveland!” Duh. (Laughs) I heard a weird reaction from the audience and my band mumbling stuff behind me, which is always a disconcerting feeling when you’re out there on “the front line.” My bass guitarist alerted me to the fact that we were in Columbus, not Cleveland! I apologized, but I felt like a smacked ass! My “Spinal Tap” moment. John Popper had warned me about that. He said every singer does that once. Ever since then I have been writing the town on the top of my set list!
Be sure to check out Lipstick Tomboy on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, and Amazon Music. Lisa will soon be premiering a new video for “Only The Tequila Talkin’” as well. For full details, as well as tour dates, visit her website, lisabouchelle.com, and her Facebook page, facebook.com/lisabouchelle.