By Stuart Coupe.
Live in concert, singer-songwriter Lucy Wise guides the audience on a journey – from a profound feeling in the air in one moment, to infectious joy and humour in the next. Lucy writes and sings about the often-untouched universals – those things we’re often not allowed to feel and explore in the daily grind.
Lucy openly tells her stories through music, creating a space to reflect on the experiences that matter the most to us. Touring nationally and internationally with many different line-ups over the past twelve years, including five-piece bands, trios, duos and solo, Lucy has continued to develop a presence with her music that is true and powerful.
Lucy’s music might best be described as “Folk with feeling”. Her sound is grounded in folk tradition, and at the same time, she describes in rich detail what it’s like to live in the world at this particular time. She tells stories about growing up, love of all kinds, city life, country towns, beaches and bushlands, weaving a strong sense of place into her music.
Another through-line in Lucy’s songs is an intermingling of joy and sorrow, reminiscent of old folk songs that have dark stories and buoyant, playful melodies. Humans are complex beings who feel complex things, and this is distilled in Lucy’s music.
There is a fluent, natural quality about Lucy’s singing that welcomes listeners into her songs. Lucy grew up performing at music festivals around Australia with her family, and playing and hearing a range of traditional and contemporary folk and roots music from around the world.
She fell in love with Billie Holiday and Norah Jones as a teenager, and in her twenties, with pop artist Regina Spektor and American composer, Edgar Meyer. Never having subscribed to just one particular discipline or style, Lucy’s love of music is broad, and knows no borders.
One can hear she has been influenced by the early work of Joni Mitchell and folk songwriters from the later Laurel Canyon era, as well as by music from Celtic and American folk traditions. This combined with a mix of other musical influences on her palette, she paints a sound that is firmly her own.
Lucy’s new album, “Into the Blue” and its B-side EP, “Yearning” reflect the freedom she has always felt with music. This recording project comprises songs she has written over the past five years, and much like being at a folk festival, this body of work is like walking past crowded marquees and hearing a colourful unfurling of so many different sounds.
Fifteen guest musicians played across the album and EP, and the backing vocals on some tracks such by her mother and sisters is a tender, reverent acknowledgement of her musical upbringing.
The songs on Lucy’s new album and EP touch on aspects of life Lucy hasn’t written about before. In “Broken and Beautiful” she sings about self-image and impossible standards set by the patriarchy. In her song “To Be Steady”, ocean swimming is a metaphor for the challenges life throws us - how sometimes we have to swim as hard as we can, at other times we just have to float. In her song “Cold Winds”, Lucy sings about her experiences of mental illness and recovery, an ongoing journey. Having continued to hone her craft through the pandemic, she has re-remerged into performing and music-making with a stronger sense of connection, identity and purpose.
Lucy’s new album and EP were produced by Luke Plumb. Like Lucy, Luke grew up at Australian folk festivals, and has played in many bands including Scottish folk-world-fusion group Shooglenifty. He brings to his work a deep knowledge and appreciation of a vast array of music genres. Together, they brainstormed how to produce these fourteen songs, and the result is an expression of the rich world of music they both inhabit.
The sound of Lucy’s new album and EP ranges from live-recorded solo vocals and guitar, to big string and brass sections, to a sparse jazz-style ensemble with brushy drums and double bass, to vibrant folk-pop tracks featuring talking drum, shakers, congas and triangle.
The album and EP were mixed by Lucy’s partner and long-time collaborator, sound engineer and musician Mischa Herman, who helped amplify the magic of the songs and their instrumentation. Although the sounds are diverse across the album and EP, there is a thread connecting all the songs: they all speak the one language of human feeling, with layers of light and shade. With every new listen, there’s more to be discovered.
Lucy Wise Album Tour: Into The Blue
12th Brisbane / The Junk Bar, 7:30pm / TICKETS
13th Eudlo / Eudlo Hall, 7pm / TICKETS
14th Rainbow Beach / Rainbow Beach Hall, 7pm / TICKETS
18th Sydney / Gasoline Pony, 7pm (Double-bill with Meremba) / TICKETS
19th Wollongong / Illawarra Folk Club, 6:30pm / Tickets available soon HERE
20th Cobargo / Yuin Folk Club, 7pm / Tickets available soon HERE
21st Tathra / Tathra Hotel, 3:30pm / Free entry
27th Valencia Creek / Valencia Creek Hall, 7pm / TICKETS
3rd Malmsbury Town Hall, 2pm - TICKETS
4th Melbourne - Northcote Social Club, 1pm* - TICKETS
*w/full band & Special Guest Ailsa Mitchell!