Smile Politely

Lydia Loveless plays Rose Bowl Saturday

Lydia Loveless has been described by Spin as “one of the most badass country or Americana songwriters working today.” The Columbus, Ohio, resident is only 21, but it already getting set to head into the studio to record her third album.

She’ll be rolling into Urbana with her full band Saturday night to play a 7:30 p.m. show at the Rose Bowl Tavern. Tickets are $12 at the door. I spoke to Loveless on the phone in early April.

Smile Politely: How do you like Columbus?

Lydia Loveless: I like it. I have mixed feelings. I’ve lived here my whole life, so right now I’m pretty pissed off that it’s 45 degrees, but for the most part I like living here.

SP: So, you spent February in Sweden. Was that bitterly cold?

Loveless: You know, it’s really exactly the same as here. Everyone couldn’t believe that I was going there in the winter, and then: it’s basically Ohio. The people are different, obviously, but the weather’s pretty much the same.

SP: Was that your first tour overseas, or had you done that before?

Loveless: I had actually went to England and Holland and Belgium in November, so it was the second time I’d been over there.

SP: Overall, were they positive experiences, or what did you think of touring outside the US?

LovelessI think Sweden’s a little cooler. They really like Americana there… they’re more knowledgeable about it than Americans, which is kind of embarrassing. It was good. I think they people actually care about hearing music there.

SP: Did you get much time to do any sightseeing in any of those places, or were you basically traveling from show to show?

Loveless: Not a whole lot of sightseeing. The first time we went to some museums, but mostly we’re just trying to get to the next gig. It’s more about trying to meet as many people as possible at the actual show, kind of wander around the neighborhood.

SP: I missed your show when you were in C-U a few months ago. How would you describe your live show to someone who’s never seen it?

Loveless: It really changes up a lot. I can do a solo show or a duo with my bass player, but really with the full band it’s a rock and roll show. It’s messy and sloppy and intense. We try to keep it as fun as possible.

SP: Now, you’re married to your bass player and your drummer is your dad? Did I read that correctly?

Loveless: My dad actually doesn’t play with us anymore. We have a new drummer, a guy from Detroit playing with us now. My dad kind of retired.

SP: It’s looks like on your tour schedule this is just a quick jaunt to Urbana and Chicago. Will this be a full-band deal?

Loveless: Yeah, the whole band. We’re not doing much touring because we’re getting ready to go into the studio later this month.

SP: Will you be recording in Columbus?

Loveless: Yeah, I think we’re going to do it at Sonic Lounge, the same place we did Indestructible Machine. Just because it has a really good vibe there, and I really like working with the engineer/owner.

SP: Are you planning on trying out some of the new songs at the show?

Loveless: Oh yeah, definitely. We’ve been really having fun playing them.

SP: Stylistically similar, or differences from your existing work?

Loveless: I think my influences are going to come out, like the soul, punk and rock and roll influences instead of the country influences. So, hopefully people like it. It’s definitely going to be different, just because I’m going through a different phase, I guess. It’s a little darker and more melodramatic this time around. I love the songs, so hopefully people will like it.

SP: When you say darker and more melodramatic, are you talking about the lyrics, the music, or both?

Loveless: Probably both. The arrangements are going to be a little more sophisticated, and the lyrics are a little more depressing at times. So, we’ll see.

SP: What kind of music do you listen to when you’re on the road, hanging out, etc.?

Loveless: I like a lot of different stuff. Lately, I’ve been listening to soul stuff, like Stax – Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding. And Blue Oyster Cult (laughs). If that gives any indication of what the new album is going to sound like.

SP: Wow, I’m having a hard time processing what that’s going to sound like.

Loveless: It should be fun.

SP: I admire that you’re not too worried about sounding too hip when you name your influences. I think I saw Britney Spears named somewhere else.

Loveless: I’m very un-hip.

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