Lucette at Stopover
7 p.m. Friday at Ships of the Sea
From the first note you hear Lucette sing, you know you’re in for a history lesson. She channels the heyday of country music with every phrase, every word, every syllable. It’s real country music — no artificial twang and not one mention of a pickup truck.
Think Emmylou Harris. Simple and understated, but also wracked with emotion. Lucette seems to refuse to sing a single word she doesn’t feel strongly about. Her debut album, “Black is the Color,” recorded when she was barely out of her teens, feels like something that could have been in your grandfather’s record collection.
“I think this first record is very much Southern folk,” says Lucette, “but I think I’m transitioning more into a truer country sound, which is a little more in my wheelhouse.”
While it definitely owes to an earlier era, the album, and Lucette’s music as a whole, shouldn’t be confused with nostalgia. Yes, she clearly loves classic music, but she’s just as interested in the future as she is about the past. Her best songs defy simple genre classifications.
The lyrics for “River Rising,” for example, would work just as well for pop or rock as they do for country. The song would sound at home on almost any radio station on the dial. This is alt-country pushed past its limits, much like recent albums from Neko Case.
Lucette’s youth is often highlighted, but if anything, she defies it. Her songwriting reveals legitimate wisdom, and she seems untouched by melodrama. Her driving emotion is longing, a desire to return to a lost home or to open the door to a new home she has yet to discover.
“Take me down to the place I knew ... Take me where my faith was made,” she sings on “River Rising.”
On “Field of Plenty,” she again pines for homecoming: “Prairie home, I know I’m ready to return to that land of mine.”
Despite the tone of many of her songs, Lucette swears she’s not all heartbreak and melancholy.
“I’m not like a super dark person,” she says. “I like those subject matters. I think that they’re interesting, but I like to do less daunting things, too. A few less murder ballads on the next record.”
Already in her repertoire are songs like “Dream with Me Dream,” a waltz that borders on lullaby. Part charming melody and part dreamscape, it reveals the sweeter side of Lucette’s sincerity.
She sings, “All that I want is your kisses to carry me.” Yes, this is another sort of longing, but this one is hopeful, not tinged with regret. That someone so young can sing so convincingly of both hope and regret bodes well for the songs she has yet to write.
Her current performances already feature selections from her next generation of songs. These are heavier on the country, lighter on the folk. And while new shows and new albums won’t contain as many murder ballads, she isn’t willing to abandon the depth that’s winning her new fans at every concert.
“I do try to write about things that make people think a little bit more.”
Lucette’s Stopover show is sure to appeal to those who want to think deeply about a song as well as those just hoping to come away with a little bit of feeling.