Lynn Drury has been an integral part of the New Orleans music scene for over 15 years. She was recently nominated “Songwriter of the Year” from Offbeat Magazine (2015), Best Female Performer by Gambit Weekly(2015), and has been featured at the Jazz & Heritage Festival for over 10 years. She plays a style called “Mississippi Grit/New Orleans Groove.” Her song “City Life” was also featured and used for ESPN’s 10 year Hurricane Katrina Anniversary video. Her most recent album, “Come to My House” was produced by John Porter, who has produced 13 Grammy-winning albums.
By Maureen King
Lynn Drury has been performing, in one arena or another, her entire life. At the ripe old age of five she won a 4-H state competition in Mississippi in pole bending. If you don’t know what pole bending is, it’s a little like barrel racing, Lynn says. That’s horse talk. In a word, rodeos. Once you know that much about Lynn, you understand her approach.
She picked up the guitar at 26, went at it like a pro, and she’s never stopped working. Her inspiration is her environment and since the mid nineties, that environment has been New Orleans. The transition for the Yazoo City – born Drury was smooth. She says jasmine smells like honeysuckle, and you believe her. Sultry, sweet songs turn funky, and it’s all in the same neighborhood.
These days, Lynn herself is part of the scenery. She’s been a regular at French Quarter Fest and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for years, and has played just about everywhere in town.
Drury released her first CD, “Crossing Frequencies,” in 2001 and over the next two years released two more — “Blackberry Winter” and “Spun,” as well as winning Best Emerging Singer/Songwriter for Offbeat Magazine. In 2006 her record “All You Need” produced by Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers) was nominated for Best Roots-Rock Album at the Big Easy Awards, and it’s still selling. In 2008 Lynn moved to Italy and toured Europe with Italian guitarist Roberto Luti, releasing “Dal Vivo,” a live CD in 2009.
In 2010 a grant from Threadhead Records Foundation assisted Lynn in making “Sugar On the Floor.” The stellar lineup on the record includes Alex McMurray (Tin Men, Royal Fingerbowl), Tommy Malone (Subdudes), Ivan Neville, Helen Gillet, Bill Malchow, and Eric Traub. Produced by Carlo Nuccio (who also plays drums on the album), much of the disc was recorded and engineered by Jacques DeLatour at Fudge Recording Studios in New Orleans. “Sugar On the Floor” was released in the spring of 2011.
In December 2012, Lynn received another grant from the Threadhead Foundation, which helped fund her latest release. “Come to My House” hit the streets in 2014. It is produced by John Porter (Taj Mahal, Ryan Adams, Keb Mo) and features Shane Theriot, Chris Adkins, Trevor Brooks, Alex McMurray, Chris Pylant and Casandra Faulconer. Jon Cleary & Evan Christopher also lend their talents to “I Know You Want Me” and “Always,” respectively.
“I am so excited about my new recording,” Lynn says. Working with John was so much fun! When I heard he had produced the early Smith’s records, I knew I had to work with him. I’ve been gritty and I’ve been twangy, but I wanted a new direction for this project. Intuitively, it just felt right.”
Drury continues to receive praise for “Come To My House.” John Swenson of Offbeat Magazine recently called it “An absolute triumph”
In 2015, she received nominations for Best Female Performer” (Big Easy Awards), “Songwriter of the Year” & “Best Roots Rock Album” for Come to My House (Offbeat Awards) and also began work on a new album of songs, which is due out in 2016.
Currently, Lynn is on the road, bringing her style and grit to the nation and abroad. Catch her if you can.
Lynn Drury’s compositions are as rich and full of visual imagery as life itself. Often autobiographical, each song is carefully crafted around its initial inspiration, ranging from love and loss to beauty and butterflies. Her sound combines the twang and grit of her native Mississippi and the funky grooves of her adopted home of New Orleans.
Drury has performed live on radio and television, and receives frequent local and national radio airplay. Offbeat Magazine dubbed “Spun” the Best New Release of 2003 and presented Drury with an award for Best Emerging Singer/Songwriter in 2004. She was also nominated for Best Roots-Rock Album (“All You need”) at the Big Easy Awards in 2006.
Upon moving to New Orleans in 1995, Drury took guitar lessons with local musician Chris Wood. Almost right away, the budding singer-songwriter began performing originals and covers at small venues around town. She also frequented open mic nights at bigger clubs like the Howlin’ Wolf and Tipitinas, eventually landing a weekly spot at Margaritaville, where she played opposite legends like Eddie Bo and Chris Thomas King for 5 years.
After honing her musical skills on the bandstand, Drury released her first CD of original compositions, “Crossing Frequencies,” in 2001. Over the next two years, she released a pair of discs — “Blackberry Winter” and “Spun” — backed up by local group Bad Mayo (Dave Stover, Chris Mulé, Trevor Brooks and Chris Pylant). She also played at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival every year from 2000-2005.
With the help of Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers), Drury began working on her fourth album, “All You Need”. Progress was interrupted by Hurricane Katrina and the epic failure of the federal levee system in New Orleans that put much of the city under water, so she finished the recording at Delta Recording Studios in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The disc was mixed at the famous Piety Street Studios in New Orleans and released in 2006, scoring Drury her first national distribution deal with indie label 219 Records .
After Katrina hit, Drury relocated to Memphis, where she performed at museums and galleries. She also participated in the Diaspora house concerts series in Brooklyn (appearing on the resulting recording), produced by composer Nick Balaban. She was also featured in No Depression magazine
Drury returned to New Orleans 2007, gigging around town at major venues like dba, the Maple Leaf, and the House of Blues (opening for Joan Armatrading). She began performing with Italian guitarist Roberto Luti, with whom she moved to Livorno, Italy, in 2008. The duo toured and performed extensively in Europe, including opening for blues-rock legend Robben Ford at the Lake Trasimano Festival. The resulting live CD, “Dal Vivo,” released in January 2009, features their performances at festivals all over Italy.
In 2009, while splitting time between Italy and New Orleans, Drury teamed up with Louisiana songstress Kim Carson to form the Tipsy Chicks, playing their unique blend of honky tonk and rockabilly all over the American south and Europe. By August of that year, Drury moved back to New Orleans for good and reunited with her former drummer Chris Pylant and rebuilt her band, which still performs regularly at local and regional venues as well as at Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest.
New Orleans-based nonprofit Threadhead Records Foundation awarded Drury a grant in February 2010 to help produce her latest album, “Sugar On the Floor,” which represents a mixture of her Mississippi grit / New Orleans groove and grander styles with horns and strings arranged by Matt Perrine. The stellar lineup includes Alex McMurray (Tin Men, Royal Fingerbowl), Tommy Malone (Subdudes), Ivan Neville, Helen Gillet, Bill Malchow, and Eric Traub. Produced by Carlo Nuccio (who also plays drums on the album), much of the disc was recorded and engineered by Jacques DeLatour at Fudge Recording Studios in New Orleans. “Sugar On the Floor” was released in the spring of 2011, and is racking up impressive reviews.