Lera Lynn with Wilder
Southgate House Revival, 111 E 6th St, Newport, KY
7pm doors, 8pm show, $12 adv, $15 dos, Buy Tickets
Interview by Scott Preston
Lynn’s new album, The Avenues,produced by Joshua Grange, was released on Sept. 9, 2014. Impetus for the recording of The Avenues developed during Lynn’s 2012 U.S. tour. During that trek, she supported such notable performers as the Punch Brothers, Joan Osborne, Todd Snider, the Wood Brothers, and k.d. lang, whose group included producer and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Grange. Meeting Josh fueled an immediate creative chemistry that ultimately led to recording all 11 songs on The Avenues at Grange’s Los Angeles studio. The album features a noteworthy group of players, including, guitarist Ben Lewis, bassist Sebastian Steinberg (Fiona Apple, Soul Coughing), keyboardist Jebin Bruni (Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, Meshell Ndegeocello), and drummer Quinn (Tracy Chapman, eastmountainsouth). Grange also provided his distinctive touch on guitar, pedal steel, and other instruments.
Melodic, atmospheric, and intensely introspective, the material on The Avenues is entirely self-penned and fearlessly personal. Several of the songs, including “Letters,” “Coming Down,” and “Leave It Up to Me,” are reflections on the musician’s difficult relationship with her alcoholic father, who died when she was in her early 20s. “The rest of the songs are about love,” she says. “There’s a lot of love and death happening here. But what else do you write about”? (from leralynn.com)
Cincy Groove: Tell me about your new album “The Avenues”
Lera Lynn: It was recorded in Los Angeles with Joshua Grange, who I met when I was opening for KD Lang in 2012. I toured with her for about a month and Josh was playing pedal steel and banjo in KD’s band. We spent a lot of time listening to music together on the bus. I told him I was getting ready to start another record and also was moving from Athens, GA to Nashville. He was trying to help me find the right producer. He played some music for me that he had produced and I said “You are going to be my producer”. Josh also engineered, mixed and played all over the record. He played piano, baritone guitar, banjo , mandolin.
Cincy Groove: Did you have anyone else play on the record?
Lera Lynn: We tracked everything in 5 days with a band. The budget has always been limited with me and time was of the essence. Josh really helped with keeping everything organized. We had about 15 songs that I had chosen to track. We used a drummer named Quinn, who used to tour with Tracy Chapman, bass player named Sebastian Steinberg who now tours with Fiona Apple and a great keyboard player Jebin Bruni who plays with Aimee Mann. They didn’t know any of the songs before they came in. They are session musicians and they just rolled into the studio and nailed it. We mixed the recorded in Nashville at Sheryl Crow’s home studio. Josh plays in her band, so thats how we were able to swing that. She was nice enough to let us use it, she has a beautiful API console. We did some more overdubs while we were there.
Cincy Groove: Do you get nervous at all working or performing with some of the artists you have mentioned?
Lera Lynn: It always surprises me who I get nervous around and who I don’t. I was working in a restaurant coffeeshop while I was still living in Athens. The girl from Tuneyards came in, it was years before they really started to get noticed. I was just so enamored with her voice. When she came in to get coffee, I went into the kitchen and told them somebody else had to help her. I was too nervous.
Cincy Groove: Who are some of your country influences?
Lera Lynn: Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash are definitely the big ones. I grew up around my parents listening to country radio.
Cincy Groove: When did you decide that music was going to be your path in life?
Lera Lynn: I have always loved music. My mom used to sing in bands in clubs when I was younger. Not too frequently, but every once in a while. There was always guitars and keyboards around so it really was just a natural thing. I actually wanted to be an astronaut until I learned you can’t goto the moon if you have poor vision. I remember the day I found that out, I was pretty bummed out. I was watching tv having a pity part for myself and Star Search came on and decided that music was something I could do.
Cincy Groove: Did you enjoy making your music videos?
Lera Lynn: Each one is such a different experience. We did one for La-Di-Da, and it was supposed to be a 2 day shoot. But we ended up shooting it all in 1 day in Athens, GA.
Cincy Groove: What do you like to do when you aren’t on the road?
Lera Lynn: My boyfriend and I just bought an 1800’s house here in Nashville that we have been renovating. It’s turning into a never ending project. I really have enjoyed it and have learned a lot of new things. We did plumbing, electrical, flooring, drywall, tile. I now know how to connect a toilet to a sewer. It’s a skill I hope I never have to use again (laughing). It’s a lot of work, but I have really enjoyed watching the transformation process of getting things done.
Cincy Groove: What kind of environment do you like to be in to write your music?
Lera Lynn: If it was up to me, I would be completely alone. Unfortunately it’s a luxury that doesn’t always present itself. If I have a chance I will take the time to record different ideas that I have on guitar. Then maybe when I am on the plane I will put in my earbuds and listen to the music while I try to write some lyrics. It happens a little at a time in different places. Although sometimes songs to just fall out of the sky and land in my lap. I really don’t know how I have survived without my voice recorder iPhone app.