‘Real’ is a remarkable showcase for songwriter Lydia Loveless

There are several quietly devastation moments on Lydia Loveless’s new album Real, but the one that sticks out most occurs during “Heaven” over a quickening tempo and Loveless’s vocals growing more desperate. “No one gets to heaven,” she sings, letting go of her hope for a better, more peaceful future. The album is full of moments like this, with Loveless at the end of her rope, out of gas and, as she puts it on Real, “out on love.” Loveless operates in the venn diagram section circling alternative, country and 90s pop, creating something that’s both welcoming in its familiarity and thrilling in the fresh perspective Loveless gives the compositions. While there might be an inclination to group Loveless in with other rising country stars Sturgill Simpson, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church and Kacey Musgraves, I hear just as much – if not more – in common with the music from artists such as Waxahatchee and Torres, both in the lyrical candidness and the crunching, aggressive instrumentals.

“Bilbao” marks the emotional core of Real, with Loveless repeatedly singing – more and more impassioned -, “there is nowhere in the world that I’d rather be.” What the lyric lacks in originality it makes up for in believability. There’s no where else Loveless would rather be, and after spending time with Loveless and Real, it’s obvious there’s nowhere else she should be, either.

Real is out now via Bloodshot.

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