Lizzie Edwards couldn’t help stare at the taxidermy deer mounted on the wall where she was bartending. Forbidden to use a cell phone on the job, her only escape was to gaze at the hanging head across from the bar, and write. There, Edwards, frontwoman for the Brooklyn-based blues rockers Lizzie & The Makers, penned an open letter to the “Deer on the Wall,” a phrase later rechristened, Dear Onda Wahl, the band’s second album, out summer 2021.
Recorded at Mission Sound Recording in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Dear Onda Wahl, a follow up to the band’s 2015 debut Fire From the Heart of Man, exposes more soulful pop layers of Lizzie & The Makers—Edwards, along with guitarist Greg McMullen, bassist Brett Bass (Gregg Allman, Bernie Worrel), keyboardist Rob Clores (The Black Crowes, John Popper Band), and drummer Steve Williams (Sadé, Digable Planets)—all palpable on first single “Mermaid.”
Inspired by a friend drawn to New York’s Rockaway Beach one summer, and called herself a mermaid who “needs to be ravaged on a daily basis,” as she absorbed all of the holistic, healing properties of the ocean, “Mermaid” is a enchanting dip into Lizzie & The Makers’ bluesy synth-pop waters.
Starting as a slower and sultry blues progression that Edwards played on the piano, “Mermaid” quickly picked up more soul as it fleshed out with McMullen. “I brought it to Greg, and Sharon Jones, who had just passed away at the time, is a big hero of mine, and he was like, ‘why don’t we make this a little more Sharon? Give me a little Dap-Kings, make it a little brighter and groovier,’ so it’s not just this slow, durgy blues song, which is how all my songs usually start out.”