Getting to Know the Many Sides of Lydia Luce (5/16 at WCL)

Nashville-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lydia Luce recently found herself on tour supporting our good buddy Andrea von Kampen for a March trek (The two will be reuniting for a...

Nashville-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lydia Luce recently found herself on tour supporting our good buddy Andrea von Kampen for a March trek (The two will be reuniting for a November tour of the UK.)  “We’ve been friends for a little while.  We’re in each other’s top ‘sounds like’ on Spotify, so we call ourselves Spotify Sisters,” Lydia jokes with me during a recent phone chat.  However, this Saturday Lydia Luce will kick off a headlining tour which will have her at The Lounge at World Café Live on Thursday May 16th.   For these dates Luce will be accompanied by Jess Nolan (best known as a member of Jenny Lewis’ all-female touring band), who will both be playing keys for Lydia and providing direct support with a set of her own.  “We’ve been friends since I moved here in 2016…  She’s just a bud!  She was on my bachelorette trip!” says Lydia.

Although Lydia Luce has been based in Nashville for the better part of a decade, she originally hails from Florida, which she embraces on Florida Girl, her latest LP, which dropped last October on Nettwerk (She admits to being uncomfortable with this in the past, considering preconceived notions so many have of The Sunshine State.)  While Lydia is proud of her roots, she also tells me she’s very happy with where she is currently: “I love it.  I miss the ocean, obviously, but I’ve never experienced anything like this collaborative community.”  She goes on to explain, “It’s not a country city…  It’s always growing and expanding and it’s incredibly supportive.”

Of Florida Girl, Lydia explains, “This one is almost a different genre, but it still feels like me…  It still falls into the folk umbrella.”  However, she tells me that the process with which she and longtime collaborators approached the songs was a little looser than usual: “We just sat in rooms together and created as we went, like, ‘Let’s just throw some paint on the wall and see how it goes.’”  The album has been receiving a lot of positive responses, with The Teen Magazine saying, “The love child of American indie and a bohemian sensibility, the singer-songwriter’s fanbase enjoys a retreat into a world in which dreams can come true.”  But she tells me that her favorite reaction she’s gotten to the album is a particularly touching email she received from about halfway across the globe: “I got an email from a woman from Australia who bought some of my merch, and she wrote me a really sweet email about the poem, ‘Florida Poem,’ saying, ‘My kid loves it,’  which really meant a lot, especially because that was a last-minute decision to add a poem to the album.”

In addition to the kinds of sounds found on Florida Girl, Lydia Luce has been playing classical violin since she was a child, which is what originally led to her relocation to Nashville, where she became an in-demand session musician.  Around this time, she also founded Lockeland Strings, a community arts organization that showcases local musicians accompanied by a collective of strings players, which has featured performances by Kacey Musgraves and our longtime phriend Madi Diaz, who Luce also has a great affection for: “She played some Lockeland Strings shows and our dogs were besties for a little while…  It’s incredible to me just to see the span of her career…  She’s very inspiring as a person.”

While Lockeland Strings has come a long way, expanding to London (where they recently played a sold-out show in a 900-cap room) and preparing for a tour of Paris, Lydia says the beginnings of the project were quite humble: “It started in 2016, when I was booking shows out of my living room [laughs].”  However, regardless of the collective’s fame or renown, she tells me it’s something that has always been profoundly dear to her: “I love booking the shows and being part of this community…  We’re all here to put together this magical thing.”  She also admits that her background with strings likely has a bigger impact on her own music than one might expect: “I do think, melodically, I’m very influenced by my upbringing…  The lyrics are obviously something very different from growing up with this wordless music, but the melody translates.”

Lydia Luce’s upcoming dates will focus on her three LPs (Florida Girl, 2021’s Dark River, and 2018’s Azalea) in a stripped-down form, performed as a trio: “It will be a broken-down kind of set, with a collection of songs from each record…  We’re not going to have a drummer, so I think it’ll have kind of an ambient feel.”  Although she has been enjoying playing some larger settings, she admits that she’s most comfortable in rooms like The Lounge at World Café Live: “I would prefer listening rooms to anything else…  It’s such a buzzkill when someone’s talking, or someone’s drunk, or not with us in the space together.  We’re all in this together!”  And while Lydia has a lot of touring in the works, she also tells me that fans can expect new music soon, as she’ll be recording at Real World Studios in the UK in the very near future: “I’m going to make a record in June, like a week and a half after tour!”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.