Friday, February 26 – Today, Nashville singer/songwriter Lydia Luce self-released her anticipated orchestral infused indie folk album Dark River. She will also be hosting her virtual album release show tonight at 7 p.m. CT at Nashville’s renowned Parthenon as a part of the Tennessee Arts Commission Centennial Park Conservancy ECHO series. The virtual event can be viewed on Centennial Park Conservancy’s YouTube page. More information can be found here: https://conservancyonline.com/echo
Luce’s sophomore album release received high praise from tastemaker media including, AV Club who compared her to the likes of Dusty Springfield and Neko Case stated, “The resonant warmth and exhilarating swell of Lydia Luce’s songwriting will undoubtedly appeal to fans of Neko Case & Dusty Springfield.” Paste hailed the album and stated, “Dark River ranges from personally intimate to grandly cinematic.” Flood described the album as “blending classical, maudlin, and even anachronistic sounds with a more modern take on romantic relationships.” Nashville Scene praised Luce’s unique vocals and claimed “Luce’s vocals echoes of post-war vocal pop melded with contemporary folk-pop.” Under The Radar hailed the album as, “gorgeously arranged bit of chamber pop, marrying idyllic finger-picked guitar, touches of keys, and a stirring orchestral accompaniment”. American Songwriter described her intimate writing style as, “effortless and enchanting ease” along with Garden & Gunwho praised Luce as a “musical wunderkind.”
Luce also released a new video today accompanying the album release for “Never Been Good,” debuted with Forbes.com who described the latest album, “the record infuses the rigor and intentionality of contemporary classical into an unapologetic expression of middle-American emotion.” The video was partially shot on vintage Super 8 film by photographer Jacqueline Justice. A song about codependency and growth, Luce wrote the song at a time when she was trying to decide whether or not to stay with her partner. Luce stated, “My partner was struggling with addiction and panic attacks and all I wanted to do was try and fix it. One of the biggest discoveries of last year was my tendency to try and fix things.”
Luce continued, “I notice codependent patterns all throughout my life from my parental relationships to my romantic ones. One of the hardest things I came to recon with was that I tend to try and fix so that they can be the person I need them to be for me. I am learning to be what I need for myself and let go of my tendency to fix people and let them work it out on their own because I am not in control of anyone or anything other than myself.”
Luce was known as the go-to strings session player in Nashville working with everyone from Dolly Parton to Eminem but is now stepping into the spotlight with her album. For Luce, work on Dark River began in the summer of 2019 after the break up of a tumultuous relationship. She decided to take a solo trip to the Pacific Northwest, hoping that the space would inspire the creative process for her next album. Between attempting a risky summit hike on Mount Saint Helen and even falling ill in the Colorado mountains, Luce did not do much writing, but she was able to face her feelings. Luce believes this isolation helped create the space for her personal stories of growth, heartache, and hope to appear clear in her mind.
Recorded at the historic Southern Ground Nashville, the album was in its final stages of creation when her Nashville home was hit by the March 2020 tornado. It proved to be a nearly fatal encounter for Luce, who happened to vacate her second-floor bedroom on the timely advice of a local weatherman just before a piling came through the wall, landing on the spot where she was laying moments before. For weeks after, Luce suffered panic attacks as she did everything she could in Nashville to help others who were affected.
Luce grew up in a strict musical household where her mother was a professional conductor for the Ars Flores Symphony Orchestra and learning the violin was not presented as a choice. A virtuoso from six years old, she excelled in numerous philharmonics. She obtained her master’s at UCLA in the viola but knew her path was not that of a professional classical musician. Explaining, Luce says, “I am grateful for my classical upbringing and that I’ve gotten to absorb a diverse education in music. Ultimately it all brought me to this space of getting to create from experiences that are only mine.”
Dark River follows her debut solo album Azalea, released in 2018, an accomplished release, which drew praise from publications from Popmatters to American Songwriter, establishing her as a notable emerging talent in Nashville and beyond. Luce also leads Lockeland Strings, a community arts organization that puts on monthly showcases of local artists accompanied by string quartet arrangements, alongside performances of new contemporary classical pieces from local composers. It partners with a new nonprofit each month to give a platform to organizations including the ACLU of Tennessee, Girls Write Nashville and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. For more information, please visit: https://www.lydialuce.com/
Dark River tracklist:
Something To Say
Never Been Good
Maybe In Time
Leave Me Empty
All The Time
Just The Same