Photographs by Alexander Just
Written by Casey Carlson
Lydia Liza was standing at the back of the audience she had just performed in front of, fans who noticed her stopped, hugged, and thanked her for her music, before wandering back into the crowd as Jake Bugg began his set. “It’s not really that exhausting” she said in between hugs. “Doing the whole nine-to-five thing and then playing for people, It’s really rewarding. It makes people feel good.” She recently started working as a social worker in the Twin Cities, assisting mentally disabled people with everyday tasks like grocery shopping and cooking dinner. Every once and awhile in the evenings she could be found playing to sold out crowds. “I’m down to do a tour or two in a year, but beyond that, doing this full time would be pretty exhausting I think.”
She approaches her musical career with the same delicate diligence found in her songwriting. “I don’t force myself to write these days.” she said. “I’ve grown a lot more patience with myself as a songwriter, and it shows too” Onstage at the Fine Line Music Cafe, Lydia and guitarist Evan Slack debuted two new songs for the crowd. “Soon” she said referencing a release date. Lydias songs – not particularly upbeat – still kept the audience’s attention as they watched the duo perform. There is a certain relaxing power in her music that had calmed the energetic crowd, providing a similar level of comfort as if you were sitting next to your loved one by a fireplace. While the rhythms are complex, Her performances are casual. Two people, two guitars, two microphones, no fancy light changes or fog machines. The audience focused on her as if she was performing in their own living room. The last song contained a whistle solo, described as a “big leap of faith” with only one flubbed note amongst some pretty impressive whistling.
Its this mellow path she has chosen that makes her stand out from many musicians in the Twin Cities, pursuing success at her own pace. “You know I listen to a lot of Jeff Buckley and Bob Dylan lately” she told me, “And these guys didn’t have number one songs all the time or platinum selling albums, but they had careers. They have good songs, and that’s what I want.”
Also present at the show Jake Bugg