There is always something very authentic and poignant about Lisa Swerdlow’s piano playing and compositions. Perhaps it is because the music pours out of her very heart.  Perhaps it is because life experiences have given her a multi-faceted depth. I’m not exactly sure, but all her music is extraordinarily beautiful and emotionally stirring.

Lisa is an accomplished pianist and composer who lives in Northern California. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she grew up in a progressive Jewish family. Her mother was an elementary schoolteacher and her father worked in the garment industry. Her childhood home was full of music thanks to her father’s piano, accordion and mandolin playing.

Lisa’s latest single, “Finding My Way,” comes from a place that reflects one of the biggest upheavals in her life since 2013. That is, not only did she fight for her own health back then, but currently she is faced with her wife also fighting for her own health now as well. I think there is a challenge in such situations, to hold onto oneself, possibly even re-invent oneself, gain new perspectives on life, and, maybe most importantly, to not fragment. In my opinion, there is a cohesiveness and flow to this composition and the cover art that speaks to such.

One thing is certain: There are no certainties in life. Through all this tribulation, Lisa has been left with trying to find her way forward through a life that appears to be “all wrong” at the moment. Times such as these may have us asking ourselves, “Who are you?” “What do you really want?” “What is really important?” “Why did this happen?” and, perhaps, “What is the meaning of it all?” Big stuff. And no matter what is going on individually, I think many people can relate to this as a collective as well.

That said, “Finding My Way” is a slower paced piano piece than what Lisa usually writes. There’s a reason for this, as when faced with upheaval and uncertainty, one of the messages of the music is that it behooves us to slow down and spend some time figuring out how to best get through whatever it is that presents itself to us, however unexpected it may be. Breathe.

The song opens with soft, plaintive piano and mellow, soulful horns, effectively drawing us into the reflective mood. The music is lovely, contemplative, and emotionally evocative all through. Wonderfully orchestrated by Doug Hammer, Lisa reaches her goal of having the piece feel like an old standard. Wistful nostalgia, one might call it. Very, very beautiful.

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