Liz Rognes
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Liz Rognes

Spokane, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Spokane, Washington, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Show spotlights women making way in music industry"

Isamu Jordan

August 9, 2013

When Liz Rognes moved to Spokane four years ago, she was introduced to the Spokane Babes of Music.

That was a show put on by local singer-songwriter Kari Marguerite that featured local female musicians. It drew Rognes to the growing community of female artists in Spokane.

“I wanted to find a community of women because I’d spent most of my adult life in communities of women, and I valued spaces where women’s voices are significant, heard and supported,” Rognes said.

Now, Rognes is following Marguerite’s lead, organizing shows that highlight local women and female-led bands.

“I know firsthand that there are many talented local female musicians, producers, promoters and sound engineers here in the Inland Northwest and across the nation, but women are largely underrepresented or misrepresented in the music industry. This isn’t particular to Spokane or to any single city – it’s a larger societal phenomenon that interests me as a musician, as a feminist and as a scholar,” Rognes said. “Music is traditionally a male-dominated industry, and women who enter into the industry often have to battle objectification, dismissal, and we often have to work extremely hard to establish ourselves as credible, smart musicians or engineers. Mass media draws far more attention to women’s bodies than to their art, and I think this reinforces problematic cultural pressures on young women (and, in fact, women of any age) to prioritize meeting unrealistic beauty standards over expressing their intellect or their talent.”

Rognes began writing songs at college in Minnesota, where she was a music major studying classical piano, music composition and vocal performance.

“I actually kept my songwriting and infrequent café gigs a secret from my voice and composition teachers because I thought they would think it was too low-brow,” Rognes said.

While classical and jazz styles continue to be strong influences for Rognes, she eventually fell in love with folk music, the intimacy of her guitar and the liberating feeling of singing her own words, leading to the development of her jazz-influenced folk Americana style.

For the next installment of female-focused music, Rognes will be joined Thursday at nYne Bar & Bistro by locals Mama Doll and Hannah Reader (My Pinky Has A Name), along with Seattle musician Rachel Price and North Idaho’s Angela Marie Project.

The Angela Marie Project’s electro-acoustic, energetic-yet-soulful, progressive-yet-approachable sound can be heard frequently throughout the area. The band plays Tuesday at The Shop. Thursday is a double-header, as they are also playing Browne’s Addition Summer Concert Series. Other August shows include gigs in Coeur d’Alene, Liberty Lake and Pig Out in the Park. Known for their community mindedness, the Angela Marie Project specializes in fundraisers and outdoor events.

Bandleader and acupuncturist Angela Marie Slotten said she sees music as a male-dominated business despite the relative increase in airplay for female singer-songwriters, even in the past 10 years.

“There is still the strong stigma about lead singers being only prima donnas, demanding and bitchy. For example, it is easier and more acceptable for a male musician to say what they need as far as sound or with booking – they can generally be more direct without judgment, while a female musician often will hold back on asking for what they need because we are judged as demanding with lead-singer syndrome,” Slotten said.

“It is so satisfying to have this myth dispelled and have a wonderful working relationship with men in the biz. I love having other women come up and say how they feel empowered by our music and stage presence/energy,” she said. “(It) also means a lot to have girls inspired by our music in the way I was when I used to go see women singers when I was a girl. It’s getting better, but we still need to continue supporting each other, and women are good at doing that.”
If you go

What: Female Musicians Showcase featuring Angela Marie Project,

Mama Doll, Hannah Reader, Rachel Price and Liz Rognes

When: 9 p.m. Thursday

Where: nYne Bar & Bistro, 232 W. Sprague Ave.

Cost: $5 - Isamu Jordan Spokesman Review

"Topographies (Liz Rognes)"

It's a balmy August night, damp and hazy and lazy and drawling, and I sit and explore Topographies, the second album from Liz Rognes. Originally from Minnesota, her maps have led her west, to relocate in Spokane, spinning tales of loss, hopes, and redemptions. Whatever caves were carved in the Midwest, she has filled with song, and her voice is a sonorous whisp, a resolute defiance in the dark caverns we all have. A perfect stand against this summer night stagnation.

Songs like the syncopated "Mirabelle" leave you imagining an alternate universe where Liz became a jazz-singer, and her tone is perfectly well suited for the sensuous, smoky beat of the old standards. In this universe, however, she was a classically trained soprano, and now makes her art like a rowdy Jewel, and the mountain folky tones and acoustic rock instrumentation (with haunting cello additions) are a perfect fit for her home-spun tales of our own inner pathways. I particularly like "Mama Said," with its hilly melody of the resounding strength of stepping into our own potential: "the only feet to get off this road are the two that I call mine... I'm going to play like my elders and stand up too.. there ain't nothing braver than the women I come from." We have a hand in our own history, our own story, and Rognes knows it. "Mountain Pass" is a beautiful hymn... comparisons of the dangers of a snowy pass and the dangers of a relationship: careful driving is the only way to make it through. Where some might make such a premise hokey, Rognes manages to make the metaphor poignant, touching, and honest.

It's this honesty that shines through the entire album. Liz Rognes is a woman who is not afraid of her own self, her strengths and her flaws, and she sings her truth in a voice of redemption. Life is a stance worth taking, and she takes it, and turns it into great music. I look forward to hearing more from this talented singer-songwriter, as life continues to inspire her and her art. - The Levee Breaking

"Liz Rognes' Vocals Continue to Captivate on Second Album, Topographies"

Spokane songstress Liz Rognes' lilting, articulate soprano and impressive range are just as captivating on her second full-length album, Topographies. Jazz influences spice up the earnest ballads and old-time instrumentation that keep it indie-folk. - Seattle Weekly Reverb

"Student creates music inspired by personal experiences"

When most girls were playing with Barbie dolls, Liz Rognes was playing the piano. She received one as a Christmas gift at the age of two and hasn't stopped playing since.

Rognes is originally from Iowa. The classically trained vocalist has studied music theory and composition, earning her bachelor's degree in music in 2005. Recently enrolled at EWU, she is working toward a master's degree in creative writing.

Rognes began writing and performing songs in coffee shops during college. Since moving to Spokane, she has played at open mic nights, coffee shops and as a part of the Revolving Music Project, an event similar to open-mic performances with collaborating musicians.

She has also performed for Bike to Work Week and Pride Week.

"Being a female in the music business is not always easy," according to Rognes.

"I think sometimes women are less likely to be taken seriously as musicians and more likely to be seen for their body or how they look onstage rather than what they can create," Rognes told The Inlander. "I don't think that's always the case, but it's a special challenge for women."

Alongside her music career, Rognes has also worked as a preschool Spanish teacher, a nanny and a piano teacher.

In 2009, Rognes released her first full-length album, "Red Flags," on Deep Sea Productions (DSP). The album was produced by Dan Zamzow, founder of DSP, and features Rognes' signature soprano voice and folk acoustic sound.

Though Rognes' future is looking bright, her past was not always so positive.

In 2004, Rognes spent time in an eating disorder treatment center. Before that, she was in an intensive care unit recovering from a suicide attempt. She also dealt with alcohol and drug dependency before achieving six years of sobriety.

Rognes says she uses writing to help her deal with her past.

"I think writing for me has been healing … Having a creative outlet of some kind is what's necessary," said Rognes. "It's what energizes me. I've been through some stuff and gotten out of it. All of it all plays into the way I feel about art."

Rognes hopes that people can relate to her songs, though they are very personal.

"I try to take something intimate, take something personal and turn it into something that people can relate to, to make a personal story, publicly resonant."

For more information about Liz Rognes, visit or - The Easterner

"Scar Tissue"

The peachy floral of her skirt, the softness of her boots, the flicker of her nose ring — she casts a gentle silhouette on the dimly lit walls of the Rocket Bakery. Liz Rognes has a sweet, friendly demeanor, both onstage and in person. It’s almost impossible to see the cracks.

Last year, the singer/songwriter from Minnesota packed her bags and enrolled in Eastern Washington University’s Master of Fine Arts creative writing program, leaving a troubled past behind her. Six years ago, this former prom queen was in an eating-disorder treatment center, drunkenly confessing that she was sneaking in soapy vodka via a shampoo bottle. And weeks before that, she was lying in an intensive care unit recovering from a dangerously close suicide attempt.

Back then, a good day was measured by whether the scaled tipped 100 pounds, whether she had been kicked out of an all-you-can-eat buffet for eating too much (this happened twice) or whether she had blacked out the night before.

She’s battled through alcohol and drug dependency, achieved six years of sobriety, shaved off her dreadlocks, lost a friend to cancer and had her heart broken by her first girlfriend.

This isn’t your polite, everyday conversation. Unlike Rognes herself, it’s not always pretty.

“I think writing for me has been healing,” she says. “Blogging is almost like stream-of consciousness writing.”

Rognes writes when she cannot speak and sings what cannot be said. And nothing about her smile or Pepto-Bismol pink sunglasses gives it away.

“Having a creative outlet of some kind is what’s necessary,” Rognes says. “It’s what energizes me. I’ve been through some stuff and gotten out of it. All of it all plays into the way I feel about art.”

The classically trained vocalist began writing and performing in coffee shops during college. Her music leads with her articulate soprano voice — and she has an incredible range. The pitch of her voice and her scat-like tendencies sound like a little girl playing with her dolls, or a grown woman singing about the ghosts of past lovers.

“The content of my songs are pretty personal,” she says. “I’m in the process of sorting out what I call myself and my recovery. I try to take something intimate, take something personal and turn it into something that people can relate to. To make a personal story, publicly resonant.”

In 2009, she compiled her lovesick stories and diatribes with Minnesota producer Dan Zamzow into an album called Red Flags. The entire work is reminiscent of Jewel’s Pieces Of You.

The openly queer singer kicks things off on the sultry side with a song called “In Your Hands.” The album’s title track showcases Rognes singing coyly about the faults and misgivings of lovers, while “Solid Ground” is a bluesy number that gives a needed variety to her songwriting. At times her voice and songs have a childlike quality to them, another similarity to Jewel’s debut album.

Since moving to Spokane she’s played the gamut of open mic nights, coffee shops, the Revolving Music Project, Bike to Work Week and Pride Week.

“I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to get into the music scene here,” she says. “But I couldn’t not play music. I enjoy getting to share my songs with people, and I’m always surprised they actually want to listen.

“I really occupy the space in between, and learning how to live in this in-between space isn’t so easily defined. So I write about it.”

The personal, public and private side of her life may feel at odds, but this is her story to tell, the best that she knows how. And judging by her album, she seems to have lost something in the Midwest. A lover? A lifestyle? Herself? Either way, it will be exciting to hear what’s to come of her meanderings and rebirth in Spokane.

Liz Rognes album re-release party with Adam Kogler, Johnny Unicorn and readers at Empyrean on Sunday, June 27, at 7 pm. Tickets: $5. All-ages. Call 838-9819. Rognes also plays with the Revolving Music Project at Empyrean on Thursday, June 24, at 7:30 pm. Tickets: $5 - $7. All-ages. - The Pacific Northwest Inlander

"Local Lounge--Liz Rognes"

Liz Rognes grew up in Iowa, spent time in Minnesota, and now resides in Spokane. She started writing songs in college as she was studying classical music. Her songs are accessible, but her classical influence comes through in her singing abilities. Liz's voice features clean tone and articulation, great control and sustain...all tempered with an earnest folksy characteristic that highlights her songwriting. This Sunday she will drop by the Local Lounge to perform a few songs live and play some tracks from her CD "Red Flags." - KCDA 103.1 FM Local Lounge


Still working on that hot first release.



Liz Rognes is an indie-folk, Americana, and jazz inspired singer/songwriter. While she is currently based in Spokane, Washington, her open-prairie Midwestern roots are apparent in her clear and lilting songwriting. Classically trained as a soprano, Liz started writing and singing folk songs in college and fell in love with the idea of singing about her trouble. Liz worked closely with her cellist friend and producer Dan Zamzow (Cloud Cult, Deep Soul Deities) of Deep Sea Productions to create her first album, Red Flags, in 2009, and her second album, Topographies (2012).

Liz's new album, Topographies, is a collection of songs that maps the terrain of physical and figurative landscapes. Her signature real-life songwriting is featured in the album, but Topographies also includes songs that explore less tangible contours, like identity and survival. Songs on the album range from flirtatious country stomp (What I Cant Have) to ethereal, ambient songs (like Lake Okoboji) that feature rich vocal harmonies and string arrangements. All of the songs, thoughwhether playful or powerfulexplore some aspect of the landscapes of the human condition.

Liz Rognes has established herself as one of the finest local voices. Writing songs of heartbreak and life's struggles, she sings as an angelic soprano in her upper range, but can get downright soulful in her middle register.
Matt Loi, producer, 103.1 KCDA

Liz Rognes makes simple music beautiful. The Spokane-by-way-of-Minnesota singer-songwriter has fast risen in the local scene with her powerful real-life songwriting. She's a unique female singer: her vocals often starting submissive and evolving into something strong and powerful. A true Spokane gem. The Pacific Northwest Inlander

"Her music leads with her articulate soprano voice and she has an incredible range."
Jordy Byrd, The Pacific Northwest Inlander

Band Members