This article originally appeared in the Kentucky Kernel.
Born in Houston and raised in Georgia, Lera Lynn has had a passion for music pumping through her veins since childhood, carrying her passion to three full-length albums and repeated appearances on HBO’s True Detective.
Lynn first discovered her affinity for music at age 11 when she was introduced to the violin through her school’s orchestra. However, her parents relocated to a new school district that didn’t offer orchestra soon thereafter, leading Lynn to ditch the violin in favor of guitar, which she says is easier for her to write on and easier to play while singing.
After being taught basic chords and being gifted an acoustic guitar by her parents, Lynn began her first foray into songwriting at age 14. A couple years later Lynn won her high school talent show competition, helping to affirm her talent and aspirations. Following her talent show triumph, Lynn got a gig playing one night a week at a local Mexican restaurant, joking that “I think that gig paid me more than what I earn now.”
According to Lynn, her songwriting has evolved significantly since she first began dabbling with music, adding that her songwriting process is constantly evolving with each song. Looking back, Lynn is embarrassed by her early work compared to where she is now.
“The songs were so bad, I don’t think they could even be considered songs in the beginning,” Lynn said. “I actually destroyed those old tapes in some fit of the ego of ‘Oh my God I hope nobody hears this! I don’t want to hear this!’”
One way musicians are now getting by is by having their work licensed for television. With record sales on a downward spiral and music streaming on the rise, it’s becoming more and more difficult for musicians and other artists to find success during the internet age.
In 2014, soon after the release of her record “Lying in the Sun” Lynn began working on music for the second season of HBO crime drama series True Detective. One challenge Lynn has faced is people assuming the her character on True Detective is who she is, and while her persona on the show does reflect her to an extent, Lynn is also quick to mention that her character was scripted and acted out as well.
Following her success on True Detective, Lynn released her third record “Resistor” in 2016, which she co-produced with Joshua Grange. Per Lynn, she’s had a hand in producing all of her records, adding that she wouldn’t have it any other way. “Resistor” paves a path unique to Lynn’s prior work while not straying too far from her country, Americana and soul-infused roots.
“There’s no way I could ever write a song and just let a band make the track while I’m not there and just sing and let someone else mix it,” Lynn said. “I have to have a hand in all parts of the process.”
Lynn will perform on April 12 at The Burl in what is being dubbed “Electric Words”, an intimate, limited seating event featuring Louisville native and famous writer John Jeremiah Sullivan co-headlining the show. Tickets for “Electric Words” are $10-12 with doors opening for patrons 18 and older at 6 p.m.
“This is an interesting time for me because I’ve been working pretty much non-stop since 2011 touring,” Lynn said. “This is the first break I’ve had in years, so I’m taking the opportunity to focus on writing. It’s going to be interesting playing this show during that time, but I think it’s a good thing to do because it helps remind you why you do music, which is to connect dots for other people and to connect with and inspire other people.”
IF YOU GO
“Electric Words” with Lera Lynn and John Jeremiah Sullivan
When: Wednesday, April 12 at 6 p.m.
Where: The Burl – 375 Thompson Rd.
Tickets: $10-12, 18+