• 2019 Boston Music Award Nominee (Folk Artist of the Year) [VOTE HERE!]

  • 2019 Southwest Regional Folk Alliance (SWERFA) Official Showcase Artist

  • 2019 Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Winner

  • 2017 New England Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) Semi-Formal Showcase

  • 2017 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist Showcase

  • 2017 Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, Honorable Mention

  • 2017 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, Honorable Mention

  • 2017 New Song Music/LEAF Festival Showcase

  • 2017 Great American Song Contest, Grand Prize


“Lisa Bastoni is a genuine artist. Her articulate songs come from the soul, and resonate in the heart. She debuted her new album and a few other gorgeous songs last night with her producer, consummate musician Sean Staples. How We Want To Live is a deep and powerful album, and an affirmation of her triumph in the 2019 Kerrville New Folk Festival contest.
When I hear Lisa perform, I can’t help but draw a parallel between her songs and those of another New England treasure, Lori McKenna. Bastoni masters the same narrative beauty and poignancy in her compositions, and similarly balances demands of motherhood and career gracefully. The song, “Beautiful Girl,“ written for her daughter, is reflective of that — and Lisa Bastoni herself.”

(Nate Dow, longtime arts/music journalist at The Boston Herald)

BIO (short version)

Singer-songwriter Lisa Bastoni’s new album, How We Want to Live, chronicles life changes, including songs about the dissolution of her marriage and learning to live a new normal -- but more than anything, it finds the songwriter diving deeper into the life she craves. Throughout the album’s ten tracks, themes wind from romantic relationships to those with her children, parents, and friends -- weaved throughout, are her hopes for herself and the world around her.

How We Want to Live (Sept. 20), produced by award-winning songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Sean Staples, features guest performances by Mark Erelli, Rose Cousins, Lula Wiles and Naomi Sommers.

A 2019 Kerrville New Folk Winner, Lisa Bastoni has shared the stage with Lori McKenna, Little Big Town, Arlo Guthrie, Regina Spektor, The Secret Sisters, Teddy Thompson, and many more.

Following a ten-year break from music, Lisa Bastoni's album The Wishing Hour (2017), produced by Grammy-nominated songwriter Felix McTeigue, was recorded in the kids' playroom in the wee hours of the night. It debuted as number one most-played on Boston's WUMB and led to a number of songwriting awards and an active performance schedule.

"Americana of the highest order...along the lines of Gretchen Peters or Patty Griffin." (Maverick-UK).

BIO (long version)

After inheriting her grandmother's guitar and a bag full of handwritten cover songs in 2017, folk singer Lisa Bastoni returned to music after a 10-year absence. The mother of two had taken a break after time spent busking in Boston after college, but finding her grandmother's lyrics ignited something irresistible inside her: she says she felt the routines of her own life shaking loose. How We Want to Live, released today, chronicles life changes, including songs about the dissolution of her marriage and learning to live a new normal -- but more than anything, it finds the songwriter diving deeper into the life she craves. 

All of the songs on How We Want to Live were written when Lisa’s marriage was ending -- though it’s not a divorce album. Instead, it finds its creator doing the deep work of deciphering what she wants her world to be. Sifting through her thoughts and feelings about her relationships -- between her and a partner, both real and imagined; between her and a parent; between her and her children; between longtime friends -- and expressing what she would like each of those people to hear and know. It was produced by Sean Staples and recorded at Side Hill Sound in Waltham, MA. The album, which Glide Magazine says offers “expressive, well-crafted folk songs,” also features guest musicians Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland, Mali Obomsawin (Lula Wiles); Rose Cousins;  Mark Erelli; and Naomi Sommers. 

The first song written for the album, “Pockets Full of Sighs,” was inspired by a line in a hidden notebook of Lisa’s grandmother’s, found after she passed away. As a teenager, Lisa flipped through the pages of her grandmother’s guitar notes, an instrument she learned as a 40-something-year-old. After she died in 2017, Lisa inherited her guitar -- a 1971 Gibson J50 -- complete with her handprint on the upper bout, where the sweat and oils from her hand wore away the finish while waiting her turn in song circles.  

The title track, "How We Want to Live," with background vocals from Mark Erelli, chronicles her feelings around the time she began digging deeper into her songwriting and recording career, when it was becoming clear her passions and her relationship would not be able to co-exist. The summer after the end of her marriage, Lisa spent a weekend catching up with old high school friends, inspiring “Take The Wheel.” “Silver Line” recalls what it can feel like to end a relationship with someone you love, but need to let go. Billboard premiered “Never Gone To You,” with background vocals from Rose Cousins. The track examines a relationship with a parent who doesn’t have the capacity to stay involved. 

Other tracks are a bit more carefree: “Dogs of New Orleans” captures the lesson of being in the moment. “Nearby” is about the moments where love feels just right; Wide Open Country says the song “honors effortless love.” Featuring guest musicians Lula Wiles, “Walk A Little Closer” is a bluegrass-tinged tune about a first date, and aptly premiered with The Bluegrass Situation. “Beautiful Girl,” featuring Naomi Sommers, is an encouragement to Lisa’s daughter -- to keep the sometimes-softer edges that can seem like a liability. PopMatters says the “heartening folk song is an ever-present reminder that kindness can be a strength.”

The sole cover on the album is Bob Dylan’s “Workingman’s Blues #2.”

"I keep picturing my grandmother, who was always encouraging me to keep at it -- I was just getting started again when she died. I wish she knew what a gift she gave me when she taught me to play the guitar all those years ago."