What's in a name? It's an age old question — and for Athens, Ga., based singer/songwriter Lera Lynn on her new record, the answer is simple: a summation of all that has been, and a bold thesis of what is yet to come.
The Houston-born Lynn, who in March will release her SLOW Records debut, Have You Met Lera Lynn?, is already well-known in Athens for her time spent as the sultry voice of mainstay folk-poppers Birds & Wire. However, the multidimensional record's title is telling; in the days since that band's dissolution, Lynn's taken an honest and painstaking inventory of her past experiences, and out of that process a song cycle has emerged that serves as a true representation — and a reintroduction — of the artist.
"Like many songwriters, most of my songs come from turbulence in my life, be it with a lover or with family or with myself as an artist, or my job," laughs Lynn. "This record is about my rebelliousness in love, hard-headedness, distrust. It's also about being confused about where I'm going and not always getting what I want out of my creative self."
Recorded and mixed by C.K. Koch and mastered by Brian Lucey (The Black Keys), Have You Met Lera Lynn is indeed an astonishing display of the artist's creative self. A combination of whiskey-soaked ballads, melodic folk and driving indie-pop, the record reminds the listener of the solid foundation Lynn has previously established and hints at even greater things to come.
"I just hope to have portrayed myself in an honest way," she says of the final product. "My short comings, my mistakes and my attributes all at the same time."
In every way, Lynn is ready for her re-introduction, and invites you inside each of her carefully crafted tunes to finally and fully meet Lera Lynn.
I'm With Her
I'M WITH HER
Angie Stevens & Haley E. Rydell
What should you expect when two established artists like Angie Stevens and Haley E. Rydell step away from their current projects and come together and collaborate? Both musicians were unsure, but excited at the prospect. As Rydell states, "I would be lying if I said I hadn't dreamt about working with Angie in a larger capacity than our previous impromptu performances. I had no idea what to expect, which in retrospect, I think was a good thing, because it left a totally blank canvas for us to work with." Stevens echoes her thoughts, "I wasn't sure what to expect. I have always been intrigued by Haley's writing style and musical abilities. I hoped it wouldn't be awkward!" And the band "I'm With Her" was born.
"I was surprised because it came together so easily. It felt natural and perfect," says Rydell. This should come as no surprise as both musicians bring a wealth of writing, recording and performing experience to the table. Stevens has released a live DVD and five CDs throughout her solo career and with her band "The Beautiful Wreck." Rydell has two recordings with "Haley E. & the Rydells" and another two with the Johnson Family Band. As part of this project, Stevens and Rydell are working on favorites from their individual catalogs, pulling in a few select covers and developing new songs. Rydell notes, "A lot of the music we worked on was new material, which was really fun, because even we didn't know exactly what we wanted to do with it yet. Over time, parts came together and it all made sense."
Both have a tremendous respect for the other and appreciate the uniqueness they bring. Stevens says of Rydell, "She has a musical interpretation I only dream of having. She can hear parts that I can't. She pushes me to be better musically." Rydell says this of her counterpart. "Angie brings a different vocal approach to our music. Can I say she's a bit more ballsy? "
More about Angie - Melding the influences of alt-country, indie-rock, contemporary folk and pop, Angie Stevens has settled comfortably into the shoes of an Americana artist with soul-bearing, live performances that have captured audiences all over the map. Stevens has gained national attention over the last few years following the releases of her first three albums. Her song, "Sleepwalking," was featured on HBO's "Big Love" and her video for "Stand Up Girl" was a pick of the week on CMT's "Top 20 Video Countdown." Most recently, Eddie Bauer selected "Give It on Back" to accompany in-store video in First Ascent locations.
More about Haley - Born and raised in the flatlands of Fargo, Haley began playing the violin at the age of three and picked up her first guitar at thirteen. She taught herself to play and dreamed of someday playing in a band. She is fulfilling that dream now as a member of The Johnson Family Band as well as her own band Haley E. & the Rydells.