By Courtney Faulkner
LETHBRIDGE — Brenna Lowrie’s latest release Hungry Ghost is hauntingly beautiful, a mystical psych-folk-rock dream, perfect for the darkening days nearing winter solstice. When all you want to do, or even feel you can do, is sit in solitude and patiently wait for the sun to return, this is your soundtrack.
“The idea of the Hungry Ghost comes from various Buddhist sects, it’s one of the realms a person can be reincarnated into,” says Lowrie. “There are different interpretations but the one that struck me is the image of a ghost with a tiny mouth but a huge stomach, therefore they can never be full.”
“The song ‘Hungry Ghost’ was my attempt to write really sincerely about a relationship ending, and part of that experience, at the time, was a feeling of desperately still wanting, needing the other person to be emotionally available, wanting to feel important to them, but being left empty.”
Lowrie finds herself inspired by her record collection, which is rich in music from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and “weirdly for whatever reason Scottish-Prague folk music.” Lowrie is drawn towards the transcendent, and it shows through in her sound.
“I use a lot of alternate tunings,” says Lowrie. “So sometimes it’s just a writing challenge for myself, ‘Oh, what can I come up with in this tuning?'”
“I write about stuff that I read that I find deeply affecting,” says Lowrie. “There was one song based on this book, that I feel like everyone should read An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, just destroyed me. It was really in my mind.”
“There’s a good balance. I also have really confessional stuff, this is me being really vulnerable and honest,” says Lowrie. “And then some songs are just totally made up and don’t really mean anything at all.”
“I’m proud of the album,” says Lowrie. “I know it’s good, and that’s not just because I’m so good, it’s partly because I had great people to do the recording, and great people playing on the record.”
Lowrie was accompanied by her brother Nathan Lowrie on guitar, Jesse Northey of Jesse and the Dandelions on bass, and Clayton Smith on drums. “They’re all people that I’ve played with lots, which helps cause there’s definitely a comfortable feeling.”
“Playing my own stuff, I get really nervous, so it’s not fun for me,” says Lowrie when asked if she will take the album on tour. “I don’t love it enough to want to perform. I don’t think I have the personality of a performer.”
She is however playing at the Owl Acoustic Lounge on Saturday, December 3rd, so if you are in the city be sure to catch one of her rare performances. “It will be good to play a show,” says Lowrie. “Remind myself I can do this.”
“I’ll definitely keep releasing stuff, I just don’t know on how grand of a scale. It’s something I’ll always do,” says Lowrie. “I would do it even if nobody ever heard it, just for fun. There’s a few things that I kind of dabble in, but this is my medium. It sounds so cliché, but this is my art.”
“I kind of want to do a country album, I have a lot of those songs too, and I kind of want to do something that is pop, like not straight up pop but something that is more electronic based, maybe like glitch-pop,” says Lowrie. “The possibilities are fairly endless at this point.”
UPDATE: Brenna Lowrie’s Owl Acoustic Lounge show date has been postponed to Feb. 24, 2017.
Brenna Lowrie plays at the Owl Acoustic Lounge on December 3rd. Hungry Ghost is available now.