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Lisa Germano

Born into an artistic family in Mishawaka, Indiana, the fiercely individual singer-songwriter Lisa Germano penned her first piece of music - a 15-minute piano opera - at the age of seven. She subsequently became a professional violinist, lending her considerable fiddle skills to hit records by Simple Minds, John Cougar Mellancamp and the Indigo Girls.

By the end of the '80s Lisa had started performing as a solo artist. A rootsy debut, On The Way Down From The Moon Palace, emerged on her own Major Bill label in 1991. The moodier, ironically titled Happiness followed two years later. Initially issued by Capitol, 4AD re-released the record (with remixes by Ivo) in 1994, after Lisa's major label deal had ended.

Her second 4AD album came out the followng year. A quietly compelling patchwork of psychosexual candour and whimsical folk interludes, Geek The Girl earned fulsome praise from critics, a testament to the strength of Lisa's raw, whispered vocals and her skills as an arranger (most of the tracks were self-recorded demos).

She went on to make two more albums for the label. 1996's Excerpts From A Love Circus was lighter and more varied than its harrowing predecessor, while the Tchad Blake-produced Slide mixed home recordings with studio sessions featuring such all-star players as guitarist Joe Gore (Tom Waits), bassist Jerry Scheff (Elvis Presley) and drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello).

In 1999, Happiness was reissued with bonus tracks from the Inconsiderate Bitch EP; Excerpts From A Love Circus was similarly coupled with the Small Heads EP.