[Cover photo credit to Alejandro Menendez]
Nashville-based Cuban band Sweet Lizzy Project have announced an upcoming holiday LP, And So This Is Christmas, due from Mono Mundo/Thirty Tigers on November 20th. The album will debut two original Christmas songs, "It's Christmas (Everything Will Be Alright)" and "This Christmas I'm Not Coming Home", and also covers of John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over) and The Pretenders' "2000 Miles".
Frontwoman Lisset Diaz and her band, including guitarist/co-writer Miguel Comas, keyboardist Wilfredo Gatell, bassist Alejandro Gonzalez and drummer Ángel Luis Millet, moved to Nashville in 2017. The filming of the PBS Special Havana Time Machine in Cuba had introduced Sweet Lizzy Project to Mavericks founder and frontman Raul Malo and his wife Betty, now the band’s manager. The couple brought them to the US and signed them to the Mavericks record label, MonoMundo Recordings. Despite enjoying success in their native country, Sweet Lizzy Project made the bold decision to uproot their lives and relocate to Nashville, where they have restarted their careers almost from square one.
For Lisset Diaz, Christmas at her home growing up in Havana was very different from the Christmas celebrations she's seen in the United States the past three years and creating this Christmas EP has been an expression of her new experiences:
“My mom always gave me a present for Christmas. We never pretended that some fat guy called Santa Claus had come during the night and left the present under the Christmas tree, for when I was little, my family couldn’t even afford a tree. Although there were no decorations on the streets or lights in public parks, no Christmas songs playing and some of my neighbors in my little town in Havana didn’t even know what Christmas was, my mom always said ‘Feliz Navidad’ on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) and gave me a new toy, a necklace, a book or something as our little family tradition.
It was not until I moved to Nashville that I realized how big and imposing the ritual of Christmas was. It literally was like... ‘And so this is Christmas?!’ The food, the decorations, the symbolism, the music, the family gathering, the wrapping paper... everything was so new, so beautiful and, at times, overwhelming."
Tower's PULSE! is very pleased to debut two songs from their Christmas EP today. First up is original song, "It's Christmas (Everything Will Be Alright)":
And we also have a cover of John Lennon's own "Happy Xmas (War is Over)":
Lisset Diaz gives us this exclusive commentary on these two tracks:
"Particularly this year, after everything we all have been through, we wanted to have something special for Christmas to bring joy and hope to our fans. We wrote “It’s Christmas (Everything will be alright)” because it is meant to inspire celebration. The main idea is that it doesn’t matter how terrible this year was, everything will be alright on Christmas because we are surrounded by our beloved ones, because we have each other. It is an upbeat 80’s style track that is supposed to spread a message of positivity and optimism. We were very lucky to feature Raul Malo as a co-writer on this song.
On the other hand, “Happy X-mas (War is Over)” by John Lennon is a masterpiece that will never ever get old. A call for peace and love seems more important now than ever and it describes everything we stand for: tolerance, inclusion, against racism and xenophobia."
The cover photo of the EP has a special meaning for Sweet Lizzy Project. It is a photo of a barn in the middle of the snow taken in December 2016 in Tully, New York by the American artist Doug D’Elia. He is a novelist, poet, photographer and visual artist who also served as a medic during the Vietnam War. The band met him in Havana about four years ago and he gave them the photo as a gift. Since then, they had been waiting for the perfect time to use it and the artwork for the EP provided an ideal fit.
Since March 15th of this year, the band has also performed over 95 "Sweet Quarantine Sessions" from home multiple times a week, viewable on You Tube.
You’ve pushed away my Christmas blues with these beautiful songs. Time to get in the holiday spirit. Sweet Lizzy, hope you will do a full album in 2021 and we can all be together again. Thanks for bringing the hope and joy. Big love!
1. It’s Christmas
Great song. Great sound. Great energy.
2. Happy Xmas
What can I say but BRAVA, Lisset!!!