What: Lydia Loveless with Jezebel Jones and Her Wicked Ways and Jennifer Markey
When: 9 p.m., Friday
Where: Lee’s Liquor Lounge, 101 Glenwood Ave., Minneapolis
After hearing her lyrics, you might wonder where Lydia Loveless gets her brashly bodacious attitude from. Look no further than her upbringing. Raised in Coshocton, Ohio by a self-sufficient musical family, Loveless never learned how to care about what other people thought of her.
“We lived on a farm, and we weren’t really in the world very much. We raised our own food and did our own thing, so we didn’t have to worry about other people and fitting into society,” Loveless said.
In addition to setting her up with a hardcore ‘tude, the Lovelesses (no relation to Patty) introduced Loveless to the world of music. Playing in her sister’s band, Loveless learned how to write bass lines.
“I’ve never really had lessons. I’ve just read books and fumbled along. I’ve learned instruments by writing songs with them,” Loveless said.
Now 21, Loveless is playing guitar and singing on a tour for her second album, “Indestructible Machine.” Backing her up are her drummer dad, Parker Chandler, and her bassist husband, Benjamin Lamb.But don’t saddle her with the family band label. Loveless is a highly independent musician who rejects the conservative conventions of church-friendly country pop, layering shreds of rock ‘n’ roll and punk with lyrics that sound like they were pulled straight off of a bathroom wall.
“I don’t want to listen to music that sounds like it was written for somebody’s grandma,” Loveless said.
And she doesn’t like to make it either. She swears. She sings about getting drunk. And she belts like she’s never been told to be quiet.
“I just play what I’ve been through,” Loveless said.
Her first album, “The Only Man,” suggests that she’s been through her share of booze-drinkin’ and heart-breakin’ nights. On her song “Paid,” Loveless sings, “And you might be getting me drunk / but this conversation really sucks / And for some inexplicable reason / you think we’re going to go home and [expletive].”
Her sophomore effort gives the same middle finger to tradition, featuring songs with titles like, “Jesus Was a Wino,” and lyrics like, “I talk so much [expletive] / I forget who I’m talkin’ to.”
But “Indestructible Machine” sounds more like her live performances than her first album did.
“I’m definitely more comfortable with selling that at shows and telling people that it’s the same thing,” Loveless said.
And Loveless still hasn’t succumbed to any fancy songwriting tricks — you won’t trip on any oblique phrasing or undue symbolism on “Indestructible Machine.”
“I don’t like stuff that’s restrained and holding back and trying to use weird metaphors,” Loveless said.“People either relate to that or they say, like, ‘She’s trying to be depressed or an alcoholic.’ It’s really weird to read that I’m trying to go for something when I’m really just trying to be totally honest, which I think is what normal people relate to.”
A young female singer who bounces between genres — who does that sound like? Oh right, Taylor Swift. Loveless said that people often call her the “anti-Swift.” But she would rather not be associated with the teen pop queen at all.
“I don’t think I fit in with many people because I sort of write like a man would, but I’m a chick,” Loveless said, referring to her unedited, unabashed sound.
Loveless feels more comfortable being compared to country legend Lucinda Williams, but who doesn’t? The comparison is only somewhat apt: Loveless takes after Williams’ songwriting with lyrics as strong as a storm cellar, but she avoids weaving complicated literary webs like Williams, the daughter of a poet and literature professor, did.
A better singer to link Loveless to is the legendary Loretta Lynn: the coal miner’s daughter’s organic swagger is much more in line with Loveless’ tell-it-like-it-is approach (see: Lynn’s hit, “Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’.”)
“I get all my lyrics from things I write in my journals,” said Loveless, whose writing aspirations aren’t just musical — she wants to write essays like David Sedaris.
For now, audiences dig that Loveless is making the “real” country they crave by speaking to their anxieties and sympathizing with their less savory experiences.
“Life is hard if you’re a real person. I think the average person can relate to something about being depressed or being drunk or screwing up your life, because I think most people have been there,” Loveless said.
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