Introducing: Izabel Crane’s “Creature”

A track premiere, plus an essay from the artist Liz Carney on the genesis of the character Izabel Crane.

I had started packing my bags for Alaska in 2016, getting ready to move thousands of miles away to a town where I knew no one but my fiancé. We were planning our wedding in June in the mountains of Skagway, Alaska and we took a hike to get away from the mess of half-packed bags and plans. I stood on top of a bluff and listened to the trees creak in the wind and I felt more attached to the woods than I did to him.

I stayed here and he left. I got really sick after he left. For months, when I tried making music my voice would crack and my fingers would trip over the strings of my guitar. It helped me just to strum simple chords and hum. I liked the way it sounded. Nothing too colorful or bright.

I found a lot of beauty in the familiarity of those simple 1, 4, 5 progressions. I had played so much jazz before this that I didn’t think a song was right unless it had some 7ths and 9ths and flat 5s in it. This new stuff I was writing was simple and it felt really good to play.

This new music reminded me of crackled, fuzzed hymns from the radio in my grandmother’s kitchen, the hum from my mom while she rocked me to sleep, church songs that signaled the end of a sermon and freedom from the hard benches, boring words, uncomfortable clothes. The words that I wrote felt more real when they were fastened to stripped-down melodies and chord progressions.

I needed a name for this music but I didn’t want to use mine. It didn’t feel right. I felt too exposed. Izabel is the name my family calls me and Crane, Missouri is where my family is from. I can weave my experiences into this persona and perform intimate, personal songs without getting weak in the knees. Izabel Crane is a part of me but she’s also just a character.

I can let go of some of the reality of where I’m from and who I am with Izabel Crane. In reality, the hills of Missouri are covered with signs directing traffic to Branson. There’s this one sign — it’s huge, and the only thing on it is a guy with his bottom lip wrapped around his nose. “15 miles until you get to see this freak!” I can erase that part of Missouri with Izabel Crane. I can erase the part of me that is crippled with anxiety when I perform. I can become folklore from the Ozarks with Izabel Crane.

— Liz Carney

(Photo Credit: Cole Simmons)

Liz Carney is a singer/songwriter based in Springfield, Missouri. She performs under the Izabel Crane moniker and her music incorporates a unique mix of autobiographical elements, otherworldly storytelling, and the ever-present influence of her Ozarkian surroundings.

(Photo Credit: Cole Simmons)