Est. 2011 in Milwaukee, The Fainting Room’s sound is acoustic singer-songwriter meets Americana twang and harmonies meets screaming rock guitar solos. It’s a potent and dynamic mashup of the genres that influence the band as individuals and as a group.
Frontwoman Lisa Ridgely's singer-songwriter heroes include the brave, the sassy and the honest — particularly Kristin Hersh, Kathleen Edwards, Neko Case, Sharon Van Etten, Nathaniel Rateliff and Mason Jennings. The band’s influences are wide ranging, from Loretta Lynn and Nirvana to Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
A full-length album, Dusk, was released in May 2018. The group released its second EP, Heart Hot, in May 2014. Their debut EP, Wine in Bed, was released in 2012.
Dusk was named one of the Milwaukee Record's 25 best Milwaukee albums of 2018.
"The wry feminism indicated by The Fainting Room as a band name might give you an idea of what to expect from frontwoman Lisa Ridgely’s incisive lyrics, but that’s just one facet of her songwriting talents. Dusk, the group’s first full-length release following a couple of prior EPs, touches on a wide range of interpersonal relationships, including the sometimes troublesome modern live music experience. “If you’re just gonna check your phone / Well you should’ve stayed home / ‘Cause I’m not blind,” Ridgely sings in “Turning Me On,” echoing the frustrations of any serious music fan as well as probably every local musician. The band’s lush twang puts a lovely new spin on Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up,” and the devastating album closer, “Kill A Man,” is perhaps Ridgely’s most potent musical statement yet." - The Milwaukee Record
"After the initial disclaimer, the band bounces from a reimagining of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” to the yearning, titular track “Dusk,” all the while exploring the anxieties and self-awareness that come with transitioning from young adulthood. The final track, “Kill A Man,” comes as a bit of a surprise lyrically when juxtaposed with some of the heartstring-pullers, but beneath the surface it is a statement about confidence and strength against toxic-masculinity." - Mike Holloway, The Wisconsin Gazette
“[Heart Hot is] a terrific five-song collection that represents a confident leap forward in songwriting, production, and identity. … ‘Stopgap Girl’ gets to the heart of what makes Heart Hot so winning: effortless melody, refined songwriting, a wry sense of humor, and Ridgely’s newfound sense of self.” - Matt Wild, The Milwaukee Record
The Fainting Room enjoyed nods from WAMI (Best New Artist, 2012) and Radio Milwaukee, with five nominations for the 2012 Radio Milwaukee Music Awards (Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Solo Artist of the Year, Catchiest Song of the Year, Best Live Show).
Performance highlights have included playing at Milwaukee's Chill on the Hill and Summer Soulstice; opening for Katrina of Katrina and The Waves at Shank Hall, Madison's Count This Penny at Club Garibaldi, Kristin Hersh at Shank Hall, and Caroline Smith at the Riverwest Public House; and playing at the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival in Michigan’s upper peninsula. The band has split bills with some of their favorite local groups, including Testa Rosa, Field Report, the Crooked Keys, Hello Death, Caley Conway, Derek Pritzl and the Lyric Advisory Board.
Lisa Ridgely started performing as a singer-songwriter in 2009, and had collaborated with local musicians including Sigmund Snopek and Chris DeMay before starting The Fainting Room.
Ryan Elliott, 2012 WAMI Award-winning Guitarist of the Year, has played with local bands for more than two decades, including The Form and Great Lake Drifters.
Sara Moilanen, 2011 WAMI Female Vocalist of the Year, plays bass and does heavy lifting on vocal harmonies. She is also a member of the vintage Americana trio The WhiskeyBelles.
Dusk (May 2018)
Heart Hot EP (May 2014)
Wine in Bed EP (May 2012)
Available digitally at CDBaby, iTunes, and bandcamp. Available in CD format at the Exclusive Company on Farwell in Milwaukee.