Posted September 5, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes

Personal Turmoil Informs Forthcoming Lydia Loveless Album

Lydia Loveless by Megan Toenyes
Lydia Loveless by Megan Toenyes

Alt-country singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless just released her new single, “Wringer,” another tune that shows off her powerhouse voice that packs a melancholic punch. The track features a video directed by Loveless and Michael Casey. 

The song is the second single from her new album, Daughter, due out Sept. 25 via her new label Honey, You’re Gonna Be Late Records. It follows the album’s lead single, “Love Is Not Enough.” 

“Michael [Casey] and I started making videos for the record right as the country started to go into lockdown, and ‘Wringer’ is a song about feeling trapped in a situation, so the horror theme made sense,” explains Loveless. “My friend Tony, who plays the kidnapper, is married to a mycologist, and they have a huge lab on their property. I went over to scope out the lab and Tony said ‘Hey, I could put you in this pit. That would be really creepy!’ It was a great day of playing around and feeling creative in a time when everything felt horrific and uncertain.” 

Her first album in four years, Daughter marks the triumphant return of Loveless and documents her self-aware journey into independence. The album is now available for pre-order.

After returning home from extensive touring around 2016’s Real, Loveless felt she could no longer function at such a demanding level and longed for a break. She also needed a change in her personal life and parted ways with her husband, who also played bass in her band. She moved from her Columbus, Ohio, home to North Carolina and subsequently became disconnected.

“I felt frustrated with myself for going straight from my tumultuous teen years into a marriage so that I could feel safe, and right when I was getting out of the situation, people around me were settling down and having kids. I felt lost and inexperienced,” she says. “Meanwhile, the political landscape was turning even more bleak. Many men were coming around to feminism because they had just had a daughter. I’d see billboards on the side of the road imploring people not to hurt women because they were somebody’s daughter or sister or mother. And I was living as an individual for the first time and don’t have maternal desires.”

My family was in turmoil, so defining myself as a daughter or sister didn’t give me much comfort.

Loveless began to focus on herself. She set up a home studio to figure out how to make music during lockdown. The songs didn’t always come easily, but Loveless found unexpected inspiration in learning to use new techniques and gear (including analog synthesizers and a drum machine), as well as writing on piano more than guitar—a process she says helped her stay out of the way of her songs. 

Unsure if these new songs would become an album or not, Loveless traveled to Chicago, Illinois, to record with Tom Schick (Wilco, Mavis Staples, Norah Jones) at the Loft. 

Multi-instrumentalists Todd May and Jay Gasper and drummer George Hondroulis eventually joined her in the studio, and her friend Laura Jane Grace came through to add guest vocals to “September.” The album began to take shape over three sessions and Loveless, working closely with Schick, pushed herself to embrace these new ideas, sounds and directions.

“For the first time, I felt completely insecure about what I’d made,” she explains. “But recording brought things back into focus. I couldn’t back out of playing and explaining my songs and vision.” 

Photo credit: Megan Toenyes


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at jeff@whopperjaw.net.