11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Lydia Luce

Lydia LuceLydia Luce brings a whole lot of “class” to Music City’s Americana scene. This elegant singer-songwriter and violist is a Berklee College of Music graduate who later received a Masters Degree from UCLA in viola performance. Her classical education however started early at home from her musical mom.

Musically, Lydia beautifully marries a classic sound to her songwriting base which is very much in the folk vein. The result is a simple but lush and lovely sound for a Sunday morning or any day of the week for that matter.

As a violist/violinist, she’s recorded with locals Joe Pisapia and Joshua Hedley and with Eminem, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson on a national scale. Wow!

Her debut full-length record “Azalea” was produced by Jordan Lehning and Skylar Wilson and  has just been released. Thanks Lydia for visiting with the 11 Questions!  You can see her in East Nashville at The 5 Spot on Friday, October 19. After that, she will hit the road opening some shows for our friend Matthew Perryman Jones.

PS: You can see Lydia at 3rd & Lindsley as a part of Lightning 100’s “Nashville Sunday Night” on March 31. And if you can’t make it, you can listen on the radio at 8pm sharp. She is playing with Andrew Duhon on their “Follow the River Down” tour.


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, but I’ve bounced around quite a bit between Florida and Nashville. I moved to Boston for undergrad and then worked at The Smithsonian (Folkways Records) in DC. Moved out to Los Angeles after that and finally landed in Nashville after figuring out what I wanted to do with my music career. Nashville made sense to me because of the type of music I was writing and the musicians that I wanted to be playing with.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

I think my first record was Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Trouble Water, and I may have borrowed it (taken it) from my mom in high school. The most recent vinyl I’ve purchased was Erin Rae’s record Putting on Airs from Grimey’s.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

The first concert I’ve ever seen was most likely one of my mom’s concerts. She was a classical conductor and conducted several different orchestras, some of for which she was still pregnant with me! The last concert I saw was my buddies Freddy and Francine’s album release show with Jordie Lane opening for them. I met them in an airport heading back to LA after an exhausting Folk Alliance experience: folk music conference in Kansas City, little sleep, loads of folk.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

I feel like Alison Krauss should be on that list at some point. And Stuart Duncan and Edgar Meyer! And Sam Bush, the mandolin god! Incredible players!

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

I go to The Post East a lot because I can walk there from my house on the east side, and it’s real cute. Five Points Pizza is the spot.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

That’s such a hard question! I will say that I just discovered that the record Appalachian Waltz by Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O’Connor was recorded in Nashville. The song “Butterfly’s Day Out” is incredibly beautiful. These are three exceptional classically trained musicians who have ventured off and studied all different types of genres and are prolific in several genres. The fact that this was made in Nashville showcases how diverse the music here is.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

Man, there use to be this place called Hop Stop where you could get a late-night marinated carrot hot dog (I’m not a vegetarian, but that’s just interesting) and it closed down. So, it’s Dino’s Bar.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Jordie Lane, Anthony Da Costa and Liz Cooper

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

I’ve been doing these rather large house shows (Lockeland Strings) at my place for the past two years, and they’ve become pretty cool, plus, I don’t have to work too hard to get up in my bed at the end of the night. Love The 5 Spot.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

Rob Moose. I love what he does with Y Music in NYC, and I’d like to see more orchestral groups like that in Nashville.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

I’d love to have several chapters in my musical future. One to focus on string/viola related things. One to focus on my own music and tour and create with that.  Another to focus on curating and growing more musical communities in Nashville like what is happening with House Shows. And, then maybe split off the music thing and study octopuses. Who knows the future!

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