Lucy Dacus shares five tracks which influenced new album Historian.

Back in 2016, Lucy Dacus made her debut with No Burden, an album full of innate lyricism and emotional yet catchy hooks that marked a promising start for the Richmond, Virginia-based singer-songwriter. It’s only on her second album however that she feels she’s finally found her voice. “This is the album I needed to make,” Dacus explains via a statement of Historian, which is due for release 2nd March via Matador. “Everything after this is a bonus.”

Dacus and her band reconvened with No Burden producer Collin Pastore last March to record the album in Nashville and of the tracks released from the record so far – ‘Night Shift‘, ‘Addictions‘ and the most recent ‘Next of Kin’ – we’re shown the advancement of an artist that, whilst still in control her her sound, goes deeper and weaves themes of insecurity and uncertainty into her work. “I will never be complete / I’ll never know everything,” she sings on latest single ‘Next of Kin’. “I am at peace with my death / I can go back to bed…”

Ahead of the album release, we asked Lucy to share five tracks that influenced the new record. She also plays Omeara on 25th April.

Five Years – David Bowie

When I was in middle school, when I was first beginning to cultivate music taste outside of what my parents had shown me, I listened to every CD we had in the house ravenously. I initially thought I didn’t like David Bowie; when I first started playing Ziggy Stardust because I thought his voice was bad. My metric for a ‘good’ voice was pop radio and musical theatre at the time. But I couldn’t turn the music off. I found myself crying on our living room floor. I think it was a combination of the subject matter and interacting with a depth to music that I had not experienced up until that point. I continue to believe it’s one of the best records of all time.

La vie en rose – Edith Piaf

I took French classes in school and have visited France almost ten times since I was sixteen. This song has always held a special spot in my throat. I feel on the verge of singing it almost always. When I was in high school, I went back to my middle school to paint a mural in their library. I was singing this song to myself while I worked, or so I thought – the janitor was there. He applauded me when I finished and asked me to sing it again. He sung the English Louis Armstrong version while I sang the French. We smiled about it and he left. What an odd and unexpected moment for something so joyful to happen.

Just Like Heaven – The Cure

This is the most persistent song of my life, always appearing at significant moments. My first boyfriend and I called it ‘our song’ but somehow it was also a favourite of most of the boys I would end up involving myself with as a teenager. I used to sing this song with my high school band, The Moores. We played a show at a local spot in Richmond called The Camel one day, and the front row included two of my exes, my crush, my future boyfriend, and two dudes that wanted to date me, each of them with one foot on the stage, a fist in the air, singing along to every word. Two of my girlfriends pulled me off stage at the end of the set and helped me escape what looked like a nightmarish social situation. Weird times.

Good Old Friend – Twain

This is song that was released this past year, but I first heard it in 2014 in a friend’s living room. It was Twain’s release show for their record Life Labors In The Choir which is an all-time favourite. Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek of Big Thief opened for Twain as a duo, before Big Thief started. (Worth mentioning here that I believe Big Thief is one of the best bands I’ve ever heard.) The two of them harmonised with Mat, the brain of Twain, on this song and I’ve had it stuck in my head for four years.

Bizness – Tune-Yards

This song came up on a random Pandora station when I was fifteen as I was cleaning my room. I stopped what I was doing and started dancing. I’d never heard anything so sonically creative and lively. I had no vocabulary to describe it, so I kept coming back to it, befuddled and obsessed. I’ve seen Tune-Yards twice now and both shows are in the top five performances I’ve witnessed.

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