Singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus is heading to Pittsburgh once again for a show following the release of her album, Home Video, in 2021. The album looks at the complexities of interpersonal relationships all with Dacus' steady, calming vocals and captivating storytelling.
On Wed., Feb. 9, Dacus will play Stage AE as a headliner with Indigo De Souza as the opening act. Dacus sat down to answer five questions with Pittsburgh City Paper ahead of the show.
1. What do you do to prepare for getting on the road again for a tour?
Well, this tour is different than any other tour, just because of COVID. So we have all of these policies and have to be in pretty strict lockdown before the tour. And then while we're on tour, we can only stay in the bus and the venue. So it's almost like the mental preparation of like, okay, what books should I bring? What craft project should I get into? What games should I convince my band to learn how to play? Because we're not gonna have freedom of movement, which is, you know, fine. It's not the best, but I luckily like my band, so it won't be the worst.
2. I saw you back in 2018 at Club Cafe with Deau Eyes. You will be playing at a much bigger venue this time. What has it been like witnessing your own evolution as an artist?
It's so unexpected. I feel like that is part of why it feels fun. I know some people do expect to work towards getting to a bigger venue or whatever. But for me, it has felt nice to just let it happen and not have expectations.
I played Stage AE in 2016 opening for the Cold War Kids for a food bank event. And I remember being like, “Wow, this place is huge.” And so it's wild to go back for our own headline show. But you mentioned Deau Eyes — my brother was the drummer for that band and he came and played drums with us last time we played in Pittsburgh at Mr. Smalls. I have a lot of really good memories of our shows in Pittsburgh, so yeah, I'm looking forward to it.
3. A thing I really appreciate about your music is the storytelling aspect of many of your songs. How do you go about finding direction in the stories you tell?
I feel like I tend to choose stories that I suspect I think about differently than I did when they happened to me. A lot of the songs on this record are about people who I probably changed my mind about and I can kind of hold in one hand how I felt at the time. And now I’ve come to a new understanding with distance from it, and there is an interesting amount of space between those two things. I feel like it's easier to write when there's an arc, you know? It's harder to write in the moment where you have one feeling about one thing. It's actually easier if the feelings are more complex because there's more to say.
4. Who are some of your musical influences or contemporaries that you think are doing really cool things right now?
We were just texting, so he is on my mind, but Bartees Strange. He opened for me in the fall, but anything he's about to put out is gonna be so good. Anjimile. That's a record that came out in 2020 that I really like, and I'm excited for whatever Anjimile makes next. Christian Lee Hudson is a really great songwriter. I feel like he kind of raises the bar songwriting-wise. Uh, gee, I guess I could go on and on. I love hyping up my friends.
5. In line with the question about storytelling, how do you go about ordering the songs on an album? How do you know what the last thing you want to say is?
That's like my favorite part is figuring out the tracklist. I don't even think of my songs as an album until there's an order. And I usually like in the front end for there to be a song that kind of captures the breadth of the record sonically. I like to put a heavy song in the middle so that people can have a break if they're vinyl listeners. And then something after that to uplift people.
I like ending records with epics just because if you write a really long song and you put it towards the beginning, people get exhausted. But if they've already, you know, followed you long enough to get through a record, that's when it fits. It's like the finale of a firework show or something. I have lots of little rules. My favorite thing is when a song can kind of fold in on itself. So the first and last song are answers to each other. The second and penultimate song are answers to each other. I try to do that with each song.
Lucy Dacus Home Video Tour. 7 p.m. Wed., Feb. 9. 400 North Shore Drive, North Side. $25. promowestlive.com/pittsburgh/stage-ae