Lydia Loveless: Into her own
by Jared Curtis
If you’re looking for love songs about heartache and vengeance there isn’t a more truthful, yet heartbreaking storyteller than Lydia Loveless. The Ohio artist, 23, burst on the scene two years ago with her revenge-fueled album, Indestructible Machine, and has returned with an impressive follow-up, Somebody Else. And although the fire from Indestructible Machine lingers, Loveless has matured her sound, adding a pop element to her heartbreaking, honky-tonk tunes. Loveless took some time out from her busy schedule to chat over the phone only two days after the release of Somebody Else, and it was easy to hear that she was in good spirits.
“It’s been a lot of fun, we’ve been celebrating all week and basking in my awesomeness,” Loveless said. “It’s been a while since I’ve experienced this feeling, so it’s really cool.”
Although she’s at a different point in her life, Loveless has recorded her fourth album (three albums and an EP) in the same studio as her previous release.
“It’s like a second home and it feels really comfortable to create there,” she said.
Loveless is thrilled that Somebody Else is getting positive reviews. “Recording this album was similar to the previous record, but I wanted more this time around,” she said. “I put more effort into writing to show that I’ve grown up. I didn’t want to make the same album, so the entire band got more involved and we added more harmonies and made the guitar parts more intense.”
Adding a new musician to her band also upped the ante. “Jay Gasper joined the group and it’s really added to our sound,” Loveless said. “I’ve worked with other great steel players, but Jay takes a different approach to the music. Sometimes he makes it sound like a synthesizer, which really adds to our live sound.”
Maturity and new musicians aren’t the only things changing in her rising career. Four releases in, and Loveless is finally comfortable in her role as a front woman.
“Recording Somebody Else was different. I’ve come a long way from my first album—my band is tighter, I’m not nervous about directing them or asking their opinions, and we’re less afraid to just play some rock and roll,” she said.
“I never thought I’d have four records out at this age,” she added. “I’m a perfectionist and quite hard on myself, but I do really appreciate everything I’ve achieved at this point in my career.”
Although her first few releases had a heavy mixture of punk rock and country twang, Loveless is adding pop sensibilities to her sound.
“I’ve always liked and listened to pop music and have tried to hide that from my sound,” she said. “But it comes through, especially on this album. As I become a better musician, it’s easier to incorporate into my sound.”
As with any new release, there is plenty of publicity. Loveless usually shies away from critics, but is glad her name is out there.
“I usually stay away from reading reviews because they can be scary, but it’s better than no one talking about you at all,” she laughed.
The songs are straight from the heart, and like some artists, Loveless doesn’t specifically sit down to write songs, her feelings and words just pour out.
“Some songs do come harder than others, but the majority of my songs are confessionals, so they just spill out of me,” she laughed. “While I’m on tour I’ll keep notes in my journal or leave voice notes on my phone, but there’s not a lot of time to write. I don’t specifically set up a time to write, but there are definitely moods where I’m more motivated to.”
All 10 songs on Somewhere Else are good (including a great cover of Kirsty MacColl’s “They Don’t Know”), but a few tracks including “Really Wanna See You,” “To Love Somebody” and “Somewhere Else” are classics in the making.
“I’m so excited to play the new songs for fans,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to playing “To Love Somebody” live. It has some great riffs and I love wailing away during the song, it makes me feel powerful.”
Although Somebody Else was released less than two months ago, Loveless is already thinking about the next record.
“We are going to be touring a lot, so I won’t be getting a break anytime soon, but I’m already tinkering and looking forward to the next album,” she said. “I’m still pretty young to give out advice, but I’m learning. It’s important to make mistakes, and, not to sound like a Disney princess,” she laughed, “but it’s important to listen to your heart.”