By Graeme Wiggins
VANCOUVER — When you’ve been writing with your heart on your sleeve for your entire adult life and have developed a devoted fan base like Ohio country singer Lydia Loveless has, it can be heard to branch out and progress without some bumps in the road. And even though she doesn’t see her new album, Real, as a huge switch-up, fans can be a little more picky.
“I don’t think it was that much of a jump given that there was something else in between. I also have a lot of fans that are like, ‘Indestructible Machine is your best album ever.’ so maybe people just don’t fucking get it, if that’s their opinion about what my best work is,” she explains.
The progression on Real was a natural one that came out of “just getting older, and actually growing up a bit in the past few years.” The process of recording started for her early, and initially involved little in the way of knowledge.
“I was sort of learning to write songs and make records by just doing it. I started and just immediately jumped into the studio and started recording so my learning process is pretty apparent in the progression of my albums and this is just a little more sophisticated sonically,” she says.
This sophistication apparent both in production and her lyrics is most evident on “Heaven,” a keyboard-infused track about God and religion.
“I know that white people get really angry about keyboards and non-guitar instrumentation. We had some fun with that.” So while this might upset some of her fans, she’s definitely happy with the result. “I’m making it sound dumber than it was; it was fun and experimental and great and as far as the songwriting goes, I was progressing into a little less ‘born in a barn’ sound writing style anyways.”
That progression takes time, which can make her fans impatient, but in order to write new songs, you need time to just exist. There’s only so many songs about the boredom of touring that can be written. “People are always like, ‘It’s been so long since your last record,’ and it’s been like two years. I’m only fucking human. I don’t have Max Martin in the room with me. I’m not Taylor Swift where I just read my diary in a boardroom and someone starts beat-boxing over it. I actually have to create this shit. And remember to be a human too.”
The end result is a deeply personal record that comes out of some less than happy experiences she’s going through. This is reflected in the title of the album, Real, which points to questions of perception.
Her notoriously fierce live shows might be a little different north of the border, but expect an engaging one nonetheless. As she explains: “In Canada they’re a bit stripped down because some of my band members can’t get into the country so it might be a little more on the acoustic side, but I think they are pretty confessional. I try to engage the audience. I’ve never been much for listening rooms, I know that’s what artists want is for everyone to shut up and listen to my art but I like to talk to the audience a little bit. I’m an entertainer and performer, I’m not here to make everyone miserable.”
Lydia Loveless performs at the Biltmore Cabaret on February 2nd.BC, Biltmore Cabaret, British Columbia, Lydia Loveless, Real