Andrew Lisson would grow up in Dundas and even play bass in a punk band but it wasn’t until he went to study film and sociology at Brock University that he’d find his voice as the Midwife Crisis. He’d become embraced by a growing group of folk punk artists, get involved in promoting underground shows and develop a songwriting style that would air his own personal thoughts that seemingly appealed to a wide range of audience members. Enlisting the internet to release his music, two full length albums and a variety of singles and more are available on his bandcamp.com site with a songs fraught with reverb soaked double tracked vocals that being out of phase gives this wailing an otherworldly quality like Billy Bragg doing a surreal set of Daniel Johnson songs. This weekend, he joins a slew of upstarts looking to offer a a Valentine’s Day Smash and the Midwife Crisis releases a new song for the event called “Small Town Tragedy” on Hamilton’s indie label Rocket Launcher Records.
“I grew up in the same sort of neighborhood with Rob Brown and I’ve known him since I was fourteen,” says Lisson. “I’ve been a fan of his music with the Ruddy Ruckus from the beginning and even since the Koetta Black days but I spent five years going to school in St. Catharines and it was a fun experience for developing my own music but I always came back to Dundas for the summer. I’m back here for now but I don’t know where I’m going to go in the future. I like playing music and making music in Hamilton.
“I draw on a lot of popular culture in my music but if you compared me to Billy Bragg and Daniel Johnson, I’d say they were definitely influences on my music, especially Daniel Johnson for his perseverance through hard times and his ability to make things on his own and in his own way,” adds Lisson. “Daniel struggled with a lot of mental health issues that I can empathize with for sure. I struggle with anxiety and that makes its way into the music. People need to acknowledge that life can be meaningless and sort of work through that. In my songs, I touch on the idea of nihilism. People get stuck in those thought patterns and through my songs because otherwise I don’t have a lot of opportunities to and really it's therapy.”
The therapy continues with a new song and show planned for a calendar holiday that often disturbs single people and if you’re love lost, forlorn or just in a mood for some rough and tumble agit pop or folk pumk, the Midwife Crisis will help you make it through Valentine’s Day. Midwife Crisis’ new song "Small Town Tragedy" will be available on Spotify, Apple Music and everywhere else music is found online on February 14 as well.
“I’ve had a lot of different people come up to me about my music and how it’s connected with them in one way or another and I think that’s the underlying thing that people like — I speak my mind,” says Lisson. “I have a lot to say and I say it. I touch on light hearted subjects but those are contrasts to the heaviness of some of the other songs so milkshakes and nihilism are all in different songs. I had one guy suggest I should stop being so nihilistic and I told him if my frame of my mind changes when I get older that might happen but this represents my state of my mind where I am right now. My new song is about mortality, and being young and coming to terms with the fact that you’re not going to live forever.
“I’ve always wanted a full band but I guess I’ve gotten the ball rolling with Elio McCarthy from Flying Buttress, a drummer I’ve added for this show,” adds Lisson. “This show will have lots of loud music, lots of heavy songwriting music and a really diverse sounds with some folk punk, indie rap stuff and me and the Ruddy Ruckus who sort of play similar stuff. It’s Valentine’s Day so if you have love or you don’t, this show is for everybody.” V
The Midwife Crisis plays as part of the Valentine's Day Smash at Corktown Pub Friday February 14 with The Ruddy Ruckus, Mac N' Sleeze and The Chestnut Tree Cafe. Click on themidwifecrisis.bandcamp.com