Lessons from Lydia Loveless: Rising Country Star Reveals 'Real' Secrets

Lessons from Lydia Loveless: Rising Country Star Reveals 'Real' Secrets
Photo: David T. Kindler
It's easy to see why Gorman Bechard, creator of Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements, chose to follow Lydia Loveless for Who Is Lydia Loveless?, out earlier this year, and why he shot her recent video for "Longer," off her new album Real (out now on Bloodshot).
 
Beyond her obvious talent, there's a charming, funny, intelligent frankness to the 25-year-old singer, hitherto known for being a badass, cussing, punk rock alt-country belter who had a love song called "Head," even back when her dad was in her band.
 
Here are a few things Lydia Loveless taught Exclaim! about her work and her new album, Real.
 
She likes really short album titles.
 
The titles for Loveless's previous albums were The Only Man (2010), Indestructible Machine (2011) and Somewhere Else (2014).
 
"I deliberately didn't want to do a multiple-word title again. I wanted something a little more succinct. Then there was the fact that I said 'real' in every song. There was the song 'Real,' which was called something else originally. Sort of the same as authenticity: things can still be authentic even if they are over and done and you're like, 'that was such a waste of time! Why did I even fall in love?' It seemed kind of appropriate."
 
The demos for Real were so good, they ended up on the album.
 
Loveless worked with producer Joe Veirs for the third time on Real, building on the sound she'd created with Somewhere Else but deliberately taking it in a poppier direction.
 
"We went in to do what we were considering demos at first, but we had done so much pre-production that everything ended up sounding so good. We were like, 'Fuck, this can just go on the record.' And it was very poppy. We definitely threw out certain bands that I am in no way considering us to sound like but, you know, stealing bits and pieces of their production, like the Cars. It was mostly retro-pop that we were going for."
 
Don't pick a fight with Lydia Loveless on stage.
 
Since Somewhere Else, Loveless's band has stayed almost the same — with one exception.
 
"I don't think [our old drummer] liked touring very much. Toward the end of the Somewhere Else cycle — where we'd been on tour for two years — he said, 'I don't really feel like playing tonight.' I said, 'Well, you don't really get to decide that as the drummer," and he's like, 'well, Paul Westerberg said "we're not in the mood, we're not in the mood."' He got up to pee in the middle of the set and I kind of lost it. We were really good friends, but not so great to be on tour with, apparently."
 
"Same to You," the blistering first song off Real, is "mostly about touring and getting in arguments with pretty much anyone in the band," says Loveless. "Yeah, that's my road song."
 
This next song might be a little awkward…
 
Loveless married her bassist, Ben Lamb, when she was 20. (He's about 20 years her senior; they met when he was auditioning for the band.)
 
"When you're very young you kind of want to do the right thing. And Ben and I are very close friends. It was a crazy time in my life and that seemed like a solid thing to do."
 
Some of Real's songs were written while they were "going through a time" in their relationship. Asked if it's hard to write about your love life while your husband is your bass player, Loveless is quick: "No. That's the easy part.
 
"The hard part is confronting your life as an actual human. Cause as a songwriter I tend to just be like, 'I'll write a song about it,' and then, 'There, those feelings are expressed.' I'm working on the part where I talk to people about my actual feelings; [having] discussions with people that I'm having issues with as opposed to just, 'here's a song, I feel so much better, how do you feel? Never mind!'"
 
Check out the Bechard-directed clip for Real single "Longer" below.