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Lydia Loveless

Lydia Loveless made a name for herself as a firebrand alt-country artist, later maturing into an indie singer-songwriter whose music made room for contemporary pop influences as well as roots music without betraying her fearless, personal lyrical stance. As a vocalist, Loveless combines the honky tonk sound and style of classic country stars like Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline with the no-quarter attitude and spunk of punk rock divas such as Exene Cervenka and Carla Bozulich. While her music never fully lost its twang, with 2016's Real, her pop influences made themselves more clearly heard, and her idiosyncratic covers of songs by Kesha, Prince, and Justin Beiber demonstrated how much passion and individuality she brought to her performances. Loveless's blend of rock and twang can be best heard on 2011's Indestructible Machine and the 2017 collection Boy Crazy and Single(s), and her more adventurous pop-informed music is well represented on 2016's Real and 2020's Daughter. Lydia Loveless was born in Coschocton, Ohio in 1990; she was raised on a farm, but her father was also a music fan who booked bands at a local bar, and Lydia became accustomed early on to seeing bands play and discovering an out-of-town act asleep on the living-room floor in the morning. By the time Loveless was 13, she had taken up songwriting and was doing shows with local bands, playing a combination of rootsy country and punk-influenced rock & roll. After relocating to Columbus, Ohio, Loveless fronted a pop/rock band with her sisters called Carson Drew, but the combo broke up not long after the release of their 2006 album, Under the Table, and Loveless began concentrating on her solo career, forming a backing band with her dad on drums. In 2010, Loveless self-released her first solo album, The Only Man, which earned her rave reviews from the alt-country music media, and as she began work on a follow-up EP, she was contacted by respected insurgent country label Bloodshot Records, which promptly signed Loveless to a record deal. At the label's behest, Loveless expanded the EP to an album, and her first Bloodshot release, Indestructible Machine, was released in September 2011. After the album arrived in stores, Loveless and her band hit the road hard, touring extensively in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In 2013, Loveless began writing material for a third album, but shortly after the sessions for the full-length were completed, Loveless had a burst of inspiration that led to her writing and recording a hard-rocking five-song EP about the ups and downs of relationships. Titled Boy Crazy, the EP was released as a stopgap in late 2013, while the album, the confident and eclectic Somewhere Else, appeared in February 2014. Somewhere Else received enthusiastic reviews, and writer and punk rock icon Richard Hell said of Loveless, "Lydia is the only singer/songwriter the power of whose music and voice consistently makes me cry." Filmmaker Gorman Bechard began work on a documentary about her life and music, Who Is Lydia Loveless?, which debuted on the film festival circuit in the fall of 2016. And in August 2016, Loveless released her much-anticipated fourth album, Real. In October 2017, Bloodshot reissued the Boy Crazy EP in a new edition including tracks from three non-LP singles. The collection was titled Boy Crazy and Single(s). Boy Crazy and Single(s) proved to be Loveless's last release for Bloodshot, and marked the beginning of a period of change. After years of heavy touring and divorcing her husband (who had been playing bass in her road band), Loveless left Ohio and moved to North Carolina, where she settled into a new home, cutting back on her time on the road and concentrating on songwriting. She worked up songs on keyboard rather than guitar for the first time, and learned to use rhythm machines and recording software to work out arrangements on her own. Loveless took the songs to the Loft, the Chicago studio founded and operated by the band Wilco, with engineer Tom Schick co-producing the sessions with Loveless. The material formed her fifth album, 2020's Daughter, which she released on her own label, Honey, You're Gonna Be Late Records.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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