It’s funny how things sometimes converge. I recently read Outlaws Still at Large by Neil Hamilton. The book profiles various outlaw country artists, including Lydia Loveless. Loveless is certainly more country than any of the glossy pop coming out of Nashville. She is also more raw and is not afraid to mix in a curse word here and there. It’s not gratuitous, but she obviously is not pandering to the conservative Nashville crowd that would probably blush at even one curse word. Oh, and the conservative Nashville crowd would really blush at the song “Head.” Of course, part of what makes Loveless so charming is that she’s not writing Nashville pop songs. That can be left to Taylor Swift.
The album begins with “Really Want to See You,” a song that is a good glimpse into what Loveless is all about. There is definitely some twang in this song, but there is also a pretty substantial rock element. That’s a pretty good way to describe her music. She has one foot firmly in traditional country and one foot in rock and roll. The country element, however, isn’t just apparent in the melodies. It’s also in her ability as a storyteller. She has a way of painting a picture with her words that makes it feel like she’s conversing with you as she sings.
Loveless definitely has the feel of an old-time country singer, and I think the best comparison for her is Shonna Tucker, especially in the title track. Like Tucker, her voice is clear and strong but still reveals some hurt. Another comparison that is less apparent is another Ohio artist: Two Cow Garage. Specifically, she reminds me of the first couple Two Cow Garage albums in which the band had a healthy amount of twang, but also rocked pretty hard.
On this album, Loveless shows not only talent but also maturity as a songwriter. She writes a good song and spins a good story. I definitely recommend this album for fans of Shonna Tucker and singer-songwriters in general. Somewhere Else will be available on 18 February.
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