Having accompanied such icons as Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Rod Stewart, and even Eminem as one of Nashville’s go-to session strings players, Lydia Luce is no stranger to the recording studio. But as with everything else over the past year, plans took a turn when it came to her forthcoming solo album, Dark River.
“I wrote most of these songs at the end of 2019 and recorded them in January,” Luce says. “I planned to release them in the spring, but then, of course, everything changed.”
With a completed but unreleased album in her lap, the thirty-year-old classically trained musician spent much of the early days of the pandemic in self-reflection, and she realized the album wasn’t quite finished yet. The result was the addition of the standout track “All the Time,” which Garden & Gun is proud to premiere. “Sitting in my house in quarantine, I had the opportunity to look at myself with no lens,” she says. “The song is a conversation with myself about loving myself. I felt like I hadn’t been writing last year much at all, and that song came out so quickly.”
A musical wunderkind since the age of six, Luce earned a master’s degree in the viola from UCLA and blends that expertise with her gentle, yet vibrant, voice, creating an almost ethereal sound. While her ballads are often characterized by moody melodies and dreamy orchestral accompaniments, “All the Time” has an upbeat kick, thanks in part to the drum sections created by her partner, Ryan Usher. “It’s a big song—probably the biggest on the album,” she says.
At the same time, rather than jigsaw puzzles or sourdough baking, Luce’s early quarantine hobby of choice was tinkering with stop-motion animation. “It was short-lived, and I probably won’t pursue it seriously, but I was looking up stop-motion artists on Instagram and was so drawn to Sigmund Washington’s work.” She recruited Washington to create a visual accompaniment for “All the Time,” and he delivered a larger-than-life, psychedelic fever dream of a video. “I wanted something different,” Luce says. “I have the coolest behind-the-scenes images of him cutting tiny pieces of paper and using tweezers to put them into place.”
Watch the video below, and stream the song here. Dark River is out February 26.