Lydia Loveless, though merely 25 years old, has been on the music scene in a big way for about six years wowing critics and music lovers with her alt-country songs, which fuses elements of trad country, rock, singer/songwriter, and punk, about life and living. She hails from the town of Coschocton, Ohio where she grew up on a farm and where her father ran a local honky-tonk for a while. A member of a musical family, she performed in the band “Carson Drew”, which drew its inspiration from the father in the Nancy Drew books series, along with her father, Parker Chandler, and older sisters, Eleanor Sinacola and Jessica.
She released her first album in 2010 entitled The Only Man. It was greeted by favorable reviews, especially on the alt-country scene. A little more than a year later she released the album Indestructible Machine on Bloodshot Records. This album of her original music dealt with issues regarding growing up in an insular rural town, dangerous relationships, and country staples such as isolation, drinking, and depression. The hard edge of her lyrics which SPIN characterized as “utter lack of bullshit” by the “Ohio hellion” appealed to a wider audience and her music was greeted with rave reviews across the critical music spectrum.
She followed up Indestructible Machine with the EP Boy Crazy, which further solidified her musical cred and which served as a segue to the full album entitled Somewhere Else. Anyone who doubted that Loveless was a major talent was converted with this album. This past August she followed that one up with another gem entitled Real. This album, as her previous efforts, has garnered almost universal praise.
As she has matured her voice, which is led by a Midwest twang, reveals great depth and control. At the core of her talent, which is multi-faceted, is her ability to exploit an expansive vocal range–one greater than found in most rock and country singers. Depending on the topic at hand she travels–sometimes in the same song–from a singer who possesses considerable pipes who can belt out a controlled and sustained melody, to verbal intimacy that expresses raw, scratchy emotion like a youthful Patti Smith. Her lyrics are both mature beyond her years and reveal an openness and emotional vulnerability that only the most talented singers can maintain. It is a high wire act by someone barely aware of what she is doing–and we can only hope that she continues to eschew any artifice of self-awareness that, even among the most talented, can devolve into self-parody and archness.
Here she is performing “Somewhere Else” on Audiotree Live.