When Lukas Read was living in Pittsburgh, you may have known him for his work with Whiskey Holler, an indie-rock band with occasional alt-country threads. But after that band broke up last year, Read (real last name: Truckenbrod) decided, after living his whole life in Pittsburgh, it was time to move on — to one of the country-music capitals of the world.
"I was craving an experience in a different scene, just to test my own abilities — give it a different litmus test as an artist," he says. "You need to hear other people doing their thing, expand your horizons." So he ended up last January in Austin, Texas.
"It's definitely a musician's destination," he says. "It's growing so fast, even in the year I've been here — it challenges you to stay on top of things. If you're doing something you think is unique, chances are someone else is doing it, too, and maybe even better than you are."
What Read is doing now is a solo project that shows more classic-country influences; his debut, Ramble Man, Ramble, is complex in its composition, but easy on the ears. He works in a bit of American-primitive guitar work, which is also the basis for an installation-style show he's playing upon his return to Pittsburgh this week. Read will play music to accompany a set installation created by Michelle Gregio.
"She likes to experiment with a lot of organic material — bones, vegetation, grasses — very visceral, earthy tones," he explains. "The music I'll be playing is more the American-primitive, solo acoustic style of guitar. It will be more purely performance-art based."
Using some amplification tricks, Read says, the music will toy with ideas related to live sound.
"It's putting space — reverb, which is a synthetic representation of space — within a space. It's kind of like building aural-spatial dimension."
The show will also serve as a release event for the physical CD version of Ramble Man, which Read released electronically earlier in the fall.