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June  16, 2016


Producers Vance Powell, Mitch Easter take shifts driving through the night to deliver a “hayride to hellsy” swirl of twang-rock; album drops Aug. 12

ANYWHERE, U.S.A. — For Lucy Tight and Wayne Waxing of Hymn for Her, Drive Til U Die is more than an album title. It’s a manifesto. A mantra. But to call this Americana duo and their daughter road warriors would be a misnomer; to them, the road isn’t a battleground to conquer, it’s their beloved home.

A nomadic tribe of three (formerly four; their late lab, Pokey, now serves as their guardian angel), they dwell in a ’61-vintage Bambi Airstream towed by a Ford van whose odometer shows nearly half a million miles — which, they proudly note, equals a trip to the moon. And back. Sleeping to the rhythm of spinning wheels, they thrive on spontaneity, friends and the moments that make it worthwhile: when they stand onstage and unleash their dynamic yin-yang of high-octane outlaw rockers and honey-sweet, harmony-laden ballads.

Lucy and Wayne, who share a fondness for rustic life, have been described as “hillbillies with electronics,” while their sound has drawn such amusing phrasery as “a riotous, rocking roadkill stew,” “juiced-up backwoods country blues [injected] with a dose of desert-rock psychedelia” and “Hell’s Angels meet the Amish.” Their Facebook page “genre” definition reads, “punksy folksy airstreamy country bluesy grassy waynesy lucy take you on a hayride to hellsy.”

Yeah, that’ll work. They spell it all out in the first track, “Devil’s Train,” the raucous rocker from which the Aug. 12 release draws its title: “ We’re takin this ride til the well runs dry … gonna drive til we die.”

The groovin’ twanger “Hi Ho Silver,” another ode to the road, began as notes about hitching and unhitching the Airstream, a rather complex process, says Wayne. “When we were done,” Lucy says, “it read as lyrics.” So it became a song — one with a galloping finish that’ll make “Lone Ranger” fans wave their hats.

They bring it on home with album-ender “The Road Song,” a rollicking rocky-tonker in which they shout, “Ain’t nothin like this here life, got nothin to hold me down. Disappear into the night, feel them wheels hit the ground … keep rollin round!”

But let’s start this journey where they did: in Philadelphia, where Lucy worked in a music store and Wayne worked in a hoagie shop (sub shop, for you non-natives). She’d buy hoagies; he’d buy strings. They started playing open mics together. Then they hit the road.

They’ve been known as Hymn for Her since 2011, when they changed up their folky sound with Wayne’s drums and Lucy’s Johnny Lowe-made Lowebow cigar-box guitar/bass. That year, they released Hymn for Her Presents … Lucy & Wayne and THE AmAIRican STREAM — recorded in the “toaster” trailer during a cross-country tour. (Their first album, 2009’s Year of the Golden Pig, was recorded in a Maine cabin. “We were figuring out how to be rock ‘n’ roll parents,” Lucy says of that period.)

They recorded its follow-up, Hymn for Her Presents … Lucy and Wayne’s Smokin Flames, at Detroit’s Ghetto Recorders with producer Jim Diamond (the White Stripes, the Fleshtones). That gave them room to kick out even more jams, with Wayne on acoustic guitar, harmonica, kick-drum, hi-hat, and “bang-o” — banjo as drum — and Lucy on banjo, guitar and the broomstick-necked electric cigar-box.

Recording for Drive Til U Die started at Sputnik Sound Studio in Nashville, with five foot-stomping tracks produced by Vance Powell (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jack White).

On most of those, Wayne says, “I ran the acoustic guitar through a small, distorted tube amp, a technique inspired by early Keith Richards.” The trick gave “Shine” its swampy, gumbo spice. But the crunchy psychedelic riffs underlying the upbeat melody and lyrics on “Paraguay” come straight from the Lowebow — and Lucy’s skill at making it wail.

Producer Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Let’s Active) captured their softer side, recording “Seas of Croatia,” “Milkweed” and “Honeycomb” at his Fidelitorium in Kernersville, N.C. Easter also mixed two of three Airstream-recorded tracks: “Mazzy Star” and “Acetylene.”

The slow-groovin’ “Seas of Croatia,” inspired by a sailing trip, is one of several songs that highlight Lucy’s dreamy voice, along with their tightly woven harmonies and intricate instrumentation.

Those same elements come to the fore on the third Airstream recording, the Diamond-mixed “OneBigAchinHeart.” On this one, which addresses loving “what ya got while ya got it,” Wayne’s delicate finger-picking and harmonies underscore Lucy’s angelic soprano as they sing, “Everybody misses somebody/The whole world has one big achin’ heart.”

“This song is very special to us. Our great-aunt Lee, who was 102 at the time, sang along with our 8-year-old daughter,” Lucy explains. “Aunt Lee passed away just before reaching 103.”

The touching tune moves some listeners to tears. But another line puts it all in perspective: “Sometimes life gets so sad, you have to laugh.”
“We wanted to put out an album that takes you on a ride ‘over the hills and far away,’”

says Lucy. Through life’s landscapes, in other words. Which leads us to another irresistible track: “Milkweed,” a poppy, floating Dr. Seuss trip down a colorful street that entices listeners to follow their hearts and “blow a kiss good-bye.” Astute ears might catch what sounds like an Alice in Wonderlandutterance, but actually nods to George Harrison: “God knows if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

That, ultimately, is the message Lucy and Wayne want to convey with Drive Til U Die:
“Just get out there. Throw yourself into the great unknown.”

Like Hymn for Her do every time they hitch up the Airstream and jump in the Ford.
Hi-ho, Silver … away!
Hymn for Her on Facebook
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February 6, 2013

Hymn for Her Presents Lucy and Wayne’s Smokin
out April 23

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Lucy Tight and Wayne Waxing have been busy touring across the country and abroad over the past few years, injecting juiced-up backwoods country blues with a dose of desert rock psychedelia that has been described as “Hell’s Angeles meets the Amish.”

They recorded their last album, Hymn for Her Presents . . . Lucy and Wayne and the Amairican Stream, in their vintage 1961 Bambi Airstream trailer at locations stretching from Philadelphia to Malibu on a three-month tour.

For their new release, Hymn for Her Presents . . . Lucy and Wayne’s Smokin Flames, due out April 23rd, the twosome wanted to kick it into high gear. They traveled to Detroit to work with Jim Diamond, who mixed The Amairican Stream. In his Ghetto Recorders studio, the former White Stripes producer helped evolve their “stompgrass” sound to something even more heavy and rockin’.

Arriving at Diamond’s studio with road-tested tunes, Hymn for Her recorded live and mixed 12 original songs in just one week. “People wanted what they heard live at shows and we captured that moment and corked it,” explained Lucy.

The duo certainly covers a lot of musical territory in Smokin Flames. Their wild-eyed mash-up of country, blues and punk led U.K. music critic Steve Bennett to call H4H’s sound “a riotous, rocking roadkill stew,” while others have referenced such diverse bands as Captain Beefheart, Primus, X, R.L. Burnside, JS Blues Explosion and the Ramones.

Impressively, the two create their “ripsaw sounds” (Los Angeles Times’ Randy Lewis) with only a few instruments. Wayne (with the devilish voice), mainly playing the kick-drum, high-hat, acoustic guitar and harp, serves as the group’s rhythmic driving force. Lucy (of the fallen-angel voice) delivers a gritty squall on her “Lowebow” — a custom-made cigar-box guitar that she describes as “The Riff Monster.” In “Trash the Sun” Lucy launches a solo into the stratosphere, while she kicks up a sonic dust storm on “Mojave.”

“Mojave” stands among several Smokin Flames songs that were inspired by Lucy and Wayne’s desert night highway hallucinations. “Rosa Parks Blvd.,” a revved-up punk-abilly number, comes from their squatter days in Detroit. “Landescape,” an ode to nomads, suggests finding a place to cherish and hold in one’s heart during life’s hard travels.

After reading a plaque at Big Sur’s Pfeiffer Beach about a young girl, her mother and grandmother who all drowned together, Lucy was inspired to write the deeply felt “Ivy Pacheko.” She revealed that H4H weren’t planning on including this tune on Smokin Flames; however, just before the recording sessions began, she got an email reply from Ivy’s brother (nearly a year after emailing him). He thanked her for writing the song. Lucy saw this as a sign the song needed to be on the album.

“Ivy,” along with tracks like “For the Dead” and “Dark Deeds,” takes listeners down a rather macabre path. The demonic-sounding “Lucy Fur” continues down this blood-stained dirt road with its story about “the daughter of Lucifer,” but actually reveals the duo’s devilish sense of humor. The tune, according to Wayne, is about their beloved six-year-old spawn, “99% angel, 1% baby of Beelzebub”.

Although Hymn for Her hails from Philadelphia, Lucy characterizes H4H as “a band born on Route 66.” With their daughter Diver, Manny the nanny and Pokey, their spirit guardian dog, this little self-contained unit enjoys life’s unknown adventures on the highway. They recently had a successful U.K/European tour and plan to return soon.

Along with launching the new CD, Hymn for Her also have a hot sauce brewing under the same name as the album. They have been mixing, tasting and testing with their friends, Armando y Jorge’s Orlandonian Hot Sauce Company, to get the perfect flavors that will rock as hard as the record. It will feature bananas, jalapeños and smoked paprika. These spicy minstrels are running a Kickstarter campaign through the first week of April to fund the project.

Always pondering new, space-age ideas for the future, the duo’s motto in life is “Inspire ’til you expire.” They’d love to transform their Airstream rocket into a mobile studio, a touring radio station, a mini-cinema and popcorn stand (with banana hot sauce) or even a botanical garden.

Music, however, remains their lifeblood, as the two burn up the highway and ignite your town this year to promote Hymn for Her Presents . . .Lucy & Wayne’s Smokin Flames.

Come out and taste the heat, y’all!

Hymn for Her



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