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Chickie Wah Wah Friday! 9.22.17

 

On the Rise: Lynn Drury returns with new album

The songwriter releases Rise of the Fall at Chickie Wah Wah
Friday Sept. 22.

Lynn Drury didn’t pick up a guitar or start writing music until her mid-20s, but when she did, the songs poured out. With Rise of the Fall, her eighth studio album out Sept. 29 via CSB Roxy Music, Drury was at the helm for the first time, doing her own production (along with co-production from Rene Coman, bassist with the New Orleans Latin-rock band The Iguanas) and offering a more intimate emotive collection of songs influenced heavily by her roots.

Drury was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and grew up on a 500-acre farm in Carriere, Mississippi, an hour from New Orleans. She spent her childhood riding horses competitively, participating in 4-H shows, singing with her family in church and listening to stories about an aunt who played guitar.

“My first horse show was at age 5,” Drury says. “My dad was very competitive and very serious about it. I grew up immersed in that and being on the farm and in country music. My dad and my mom weren’t musical, really, but they loved music — the old Merle (Haggard) and Willie (Nelson) and Hank (Williams), and, of course, Elvis.”

After Hurricane Katrina, Drury made playing music a full-time career. In 2011, she released Sugar on the Floor, recorded with Ivan Neville, Alex McMurray, Tommy Malone and others. Her 2014 album Come to My House was produced by Grammy-winner John Porter. Her love of The Smiths informed a lot of her past songwriting, and Drury honed a sound she dubbed “NOLAmericana,” a marriage of ’80s sounds, old-time country, rhythm and blues and New Orleans groove.

But Drury didn’t think the sound of her albums matched her intent.

“I think I’m only now beginning to intimate the musical vision that I’ve been trying to get on every album,” she says. “I always felt like it wasn’t really what I had in my head. With (Rise of the Fall), being able to be in charge of production, I think this is the closest I’ve gotten so far. I always wanted some rawness, just honest, authentic, emotional music. Less polished, more intimate. I think I’m finally starting to get there.”

Drury’s synergy with her band helped. Guitarist Chris Adkins, saxophonist Derek Huston, cellist Jack Craft, violinist Sam Craft, Jake Gold on the Hammond B3 organ and a host of others perform on an album that is at once diverse, outspoken, steady and true. The wealth of instruments used in the recording was a bonus, allowing Drury and Coman to draw out classical string section climaxes, as in “11:11,” and New Orleans horns and rhythm in “I Need You.” Intricate harmonies mark the title track, “Rise of the Fall,” while the lovely “Water Your Words” is a standout track.

“‘Water Your Words’ was the catalyst for getting in the studio in the first place,” Drury says. “It’s a heavy song, especially with what’s going on with everything racially these days, and everything that’s going on in rural places, and in New Orleans.  And musically, it really sounds to me like being back in the country as a child, which is exactly what I was hoping for.”

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Review in No Depression by Rachel Cholst

ALBUM REVIEW
Lynn Drury Persists in Rise of the Fall
Lynn Drury – Rise of the Fall

BY RACHEL CHOLST
MAY 31, 2017

Lynn Drury’s become a master of the world-weary ballad. That doesn’t mean Drury’s stuck in a rut; it’s just that on her eighth (!) album, Rise of the Fall, she plays to her strengths. Drury’s got a refreshing earthiness to her voice that give her songs warmth while her backing band of New Orleans all-stars adds a shot of slinky Tabasco sauce to the otherwise Schlitz-fueled twang. (I couldn’t think of a better food combo but if you have a more appetizing idea, feel free to comment below.)

Each song feels like a nugget of hard-earned wisdom, though it’s never preachy. “Lifetime of Living” is a reminder that the good times aren’t supposed to last, but are a welcome respite from painful lessons. “Tuesday Lover” kisses off a lover who doesn’t appreciate Drury’s (inestimable) value. “Taking All the Good People” stands out to me as one of the most steadfast political songs of the year — its measured approach has a slow-burning effect that an angrier or more histrionic song simply would not. Rise of the Fall further cements Drury’s place in the firmament of New Orleans songwriters — no frills but with an attention to artistry and craft.
(visit No Depression website)