While Lera Lynn began as many artists do by grafting, honing their craft and playing shows, her career was propelled into the mainstream when she both contributed music as well as played a small on-screen role in the second season of the hugely popular noir drama True Detective. But it was fighting free from the mirth and gloom of those songs that the true sparkle of Lynn’s talent shone through. But it’s been a beat since the Nashville, Tennessee-based singer-songwriter was last in the U.K., 2018 in fact when she played at the very venue in which we now all stand as part of a run of shows in support of fifth record Plays Well With Others.
But then having a baby and dealing with postnatal depression while in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is what bore the fruit that is this year’s Something More Than Love L.P., a record produced alongside her partner both on-stage and off, Todd Lombardo.
And it is new album opener Illusion that kicks off the music tonight. There has been no support, but the tiny London Bridge venue is primed for a low-key show featuring Lynn and Lombardo accompanied by their guitars and “driving a rocketship” as Lynn refers to her pedal setup, which controls both her guitar effects as well as a secondary vocal microphone. The stripped-back nature of the show lends itself particularly well to the 37-year-old Houston, Texas-born songstress’s brand of American-tinged folk rock, her stunning vocals ever-present atop delicious guitars.
“Oh my gosh, it’s so lovely to see you” she exclaims, beaming at her audience. “It’s been four years since we’ve played in London, which is fucked up” she laughs, chuckles rippling across the tiny theatre. “But here we are on the other side and I’m very happy to be here” she continues before the pair launch into foot-stomping On My Own opener Are You Listening? 2016’s fantastic Resistor is touched upon next, Cut + Burn’s slow-drive beat (courtesy of a drum pedal controlled by Lynn) and shimmering guitars having the Omeara crowd both mesmerised and swaying along.
“Since we were here last, did we release four records?” Lynn asks, to which Lombardo responds “At least three”, Lynn continuing to count out the records by name. “So we’re going to play something from everything tonight” she continues to cheers. “I’m so glad you weren’t like ‘booooo, just do True Detective so we can leave’” to laughs from her audience. Slowly building Golden Sun from the latest L.P. is aired next, Lombardo’s delicate guitar coupled with Lynn’s vocal and drum pedals distracting from the absence of a larger band completely.
Lera Lynn @ Omeara
“When we were making Something More Than Love we had a brand new baby” Lynn begins. “I guess all babies are brand new” she jests before describing the importance of making a record accessible to all but heavily influenced by hers and Lombardo’s situation, dealing with pandemic restrictions as well postnatal depression. “I think it’s really important to talk about it, it can get really dark and it’s totally normal” she says before the duo kick off Cog In The Machine.
“How are you guys doing? You went out on a Friday night to listen to some slow sad songs” Lynn offers after One My Own cut So Far, the London crowd taken with her dry wit. What Is This Body? and Conflict Of Interest continue the soulfully melancholy of the new record, the latter introducing beats back into the show.
Moody One My Own cut Dark Horse garners cheers from the audience, the noir-infused tune eliciting a gentle sway from the London Bridge crowd before new album cut I’m Your Kamikaze is given an airing. The main set is closed out with the soulful melancholy of Black River giving way to upbeat Resistor single Shape Shifter, these stripped-back renditions feeling more than perfectly at home within the arch under railway tracks that is Omeara.
Following the briefest of stage departures, Lynn returns unaccompanied. “Do you think the encore was invented so that people who were tired of standing had an opportunity to leave” she jests. “Just curious, what is this tradition?” she continues before picking out the intro to noir Americana True Detective song The Only Thing Worth Fighting For.
The title track from Something More Than Love should close out tonight’s show but in addition to this, Lynn and Lombardo pay homage to the late Christie McVie, following the Fleetwood Mac singer’s passing this week with a rendition of the McVie-penned 1987 hit Little Lies, Lynn stumbling with the lyrics part way through, eliciting help from her audience but delivering real justice to the classic song. All-in-all a very endearing touch to a dry humour-filled 75 minutes of electrifying if sombre music.
Lera Lynn and Tom Lombardo continue their European tour through December with stops across Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
Read Nicola Greenbrook’s fantastic interview with Lera Lynn during her Resistor tour: Feature: Lera Lynn, Otherworldly Evocative Americana and read my review of her show at the Islington Assembly Hall: Live: Lera Lynn @ Islington Assembly Hall.
Live review and photography of Lera Lynn @ Omeara by Kalpesh Patel on 2nd December 2022.