Lisa Bastoni is a Boston-based singer-songwriter.
Her album The Wishing Hour will be released on January 27, 2017
Produced by Felix McTeigue (Lori McKenna/Anais Mitchell) and Drew Guido, the album features performances by Lisa's longtime friend and collaborator, Fenway Park organist Josh Kantor (Baseball Project/Patty Griffin), New West recording artists The Mastersons (Steve Earle), Kelly Hogan (Neko Case/Decembrists), John J. O'Reilly, Jr. (Mandy Moore/Jason Mraz), and more.
The Wishing Hour, Bastoni's first new album in over ten years -- is a collection of starkly honest, beautifully crafted, and ultimately uplifting timeless Americana songs.
The Story behind The Wishing Hour
It’s just after midnight in Watertown, MA and Lisa Bastoni is pouring coffee and sitting down at her kitchen table, ready to work. Her husband and their two kids, ages 2 and 4, sleep in the bedroom upstairs.
With the counters clean, the curtains down and her laptop open, Lisa tunes her guitar and begins recording a new song she’s posting as part of her “nap time” series. It’s been two months, and she’s already about ten songs in. “Something came over me,” she says, “while pulling my kids through the neighborhood in a red wagon - it was like a tap opened up, and all these songs just started pouring out again.”
Lisa Bastoni had a thriving singer-songwriter career going until she took a break -- first, to become an elementary school art teacher, then to start a family with her husband Chris, a writer and professor at Boston College.
Lisa’s earlier 'living room' albums, recorded on a shoestring budget in friends’ apartments, gained airplay on Boston’s WERS and WUMB as well as folk radio stations around the country, leading to numerous cross country tours, articles in the Boston Globe, appearances at folk festivals including Falcon Ridge, and performances alongside such artists as Arlo Guthrie, Lori McKenna, Regina Spektor, and Little Big Town.
Lisa explains, “Things were going so well here! But I was in love with someone who lived in Los Angeles, and being young and impulsive, I agreed to move out there to be with him. Of course, we broke up about as soon as I got there, so I turned around and headed for home.”
Once home and playing in local band Gray Sky Girls at a tiny bar in Easthampton, MA, she met banjo player, writer, and her future husband, Chris Boucher. Music was put on the back burner as priorities shifted. Within a few years, Lisa and Chris were married with children, living in a small corner bungalow just outside Boston.
“Marriage and parenthood have given me a whole new perspective on songwriting. I couldn’t have written these songs before now.”
In the summer of 2015, after nearly 10 years away from writing and performing, the songs were piling up and Lisa knew it was time to do something about it. She was at first apprehensive about getting back into the music biz, but was pleasantly surprised and encouraged when the crowdfunding campaign for The Wishing Hour was fully funded within hours of launching, and far surpassed its goal well before the deadline.
Produced by hit Nashville songwriter/producer Felix McTeigue (Lori McKenna/Anais Mitchell/Martin Sexton), the album features Lisa’s longtime friend and collaborator (and Red Sox organist) Josh Kantor, as well as guest appearances by New West recording artists The Mastersons on guitars/fiddle and backing vocals, singer Kelly Hogan (Neko Case/The Decemberists), and John O’Reilly, Jr. (Mandy Moore/Jason Mraz) on drums. While many of the elements were recorded in different studios around the country, all of the basic tracks at the heart of the album -- Lisa’s acoustic guitar and vocals, and Josh’s bass, piano, and accordion -- were recorded on a 6-year old laptop (a wedding gift) in a corner of the the kids’ playroom in the wee hours of the night.
“Working with all of these musicians whose work I admire so much has been a dream come true. I know everyone says it, but I’m really proud of this album and can’t wait to share it. This has been a labor of love for all involved, and I’m so grateful to my friends in the Boston music community and beyond for welcoming me back.”
"I would call Lisa a ‘sweetheart’ of our local Boston music scene... and she most certainly is, but her uncanny ability to slip into the deepest and most vulnerable places of your heart to tell her stories is what makes her songwriting so special."
- Tom Bianchi, 24 Hour Music
"Bastoni is certainly one of the finest local artists in Boston." (Mike Newman, WMFO)
"I would call Lisa a “sweetheart” of our local music scene... and she most certainly is, but her uncanny ability to slip into the deepest and most vulnerable places of your heart to tell her stories is what makes her songwriting so special." (Tom Bianchi, 24Hour Music)
“The touch of humor in many of Lisa’s songs reaches out to listeners with a warm hand, inviting them to share in her smart and loving world view. She carefully crafts word and rhyme into simple, accessible renderings of complex experiences. Lisa is a born folksinger who has willingly played the subways and bars. The ease with which she connects with listeners reveals a genuine love of her life as a traveling troubadour. I bet she’ll be doing this for a long time to come. “ (Sarah Craig, Caffe Lena)
Press Quotes from Your First Sweetheart (2004)
“Lisa’s voice is flexible, full of feeling and intimate. Lyrically, Bastoni is gifted as well - she has a way of relating personal feelings and trails in a direct and affecting way - I believe and care about the situations she’s telling me about, and I miss each song when it’s finished.” (Americana-UK)
“Lisa Bastoni relies more on herself than a genre to make art, and the result is a solid record replete with good tunes and good vibes.” (Northeast Performer)
“Bastoni’s earthy voice befits the honesty and warmth of her music...With a keen visual sense that comes through in descriptive and sympathetic lyrics, Your First Sweetheart is a pleasant surprise.” (Miles of Music)
“Bastoni has traveled all the hard roads and ended up more hopeful than bitter. She has learned her craft and then set out to become more than just another singer/songwriter. These songs will make you want to share them with your friends and want to hear many more.” (Country Standard Time)
“Your First Sweetheart is a thoroughly enjoyable recording of a fine singer delivering her intelligently constructed songs with confidence, and it is standing up well to repeat listenings, in fact, it is demanding them. “ (CD Freedom)