Somewhere along the way, most of us started listening to everybody else a little too much. Not Lera Lynn. “I kept trying to work with different people, trying to find someone else to help me define my identity,” she says. “Ultimately, everything is wrong if you don’t have the clear vision yourself.”
With her new album On My Own, Lynn has emerged not only with a clear vision of herself, but with an entirely self-propelled breakthrough: Lynn wrote, sang, produced and recorded On My Own alone. She also played every single instrument on the record. It is a magnificent album, haunting and wild. It is also a record that no one else could make, because no one else is Lera Lynn. “I think there is something special about a singularvision,” Lynn says. “That’s not to say there’s not something special about a shared vision, a collaborative vision. But I would be so thrilled to hear records made in isolation by my favorite artists, just to know what their uninfluenced vision of their music is.” She pauses, then adds, “I guess I just wanted to hear what my own imagination sounded like.”
On My Own is a triumphant exploration of mood and texture, because when Lynn felt exploratory, no one was there to stop her. With roots in experimental west coast folk, Lynn’s new songs link arms with indie rock giants like Cat Power, Sharon Van Etten and Jenny Lewis. Lynn rumbles and writhes through meditations on forgiveness, growth and the liberation that only comes with taking control of your own life. Her voice––a beloved instrument that’s earned praise over the years from The New York Times, Rolling Stone and more––still anchors it all, but is even stronger and bolder, unfettered by Lynn’s self-reliance.
Lynn also turned the limited resources of recording on her own in isolation into an advantage––a license to test and tease out the unexpected. Her years logged in studios come into play, too, helping to shape a record that sounds anything but amateur. On My Own celebrates all of her signature qualities, like reverb-drenched electric guitars and dark but hopeful songs. With her strongest compositions yet, Lynn puts on a songwriting clinic but does so in a subtle and earnest way, with production that does not cloud or veil the strength of the songs themselves. Reading the lyrics alone is moving, but when combined with her unique melodic sense and lush but minimalist production, you’re presented with a set of undeniably compelling and deeply personal pieces. Lynn lets the listener in like never before.
Over the last decade, Lynn has earned a loyal following, critical acclaim and the admiration of peers and heroes, the last of which propelled the brilliance of her last full- length release, 2018’s duets project Plays Well with Others. Several years earlier, the Nashville-based Lynn had turned heads in LA and she began writing music for the second season of HBO’s True Detective, on which she also landed a recurring role. Versatile and smart, she has sometimes seemed too good at too much.
On My Own harnesses all of that energy into a single potent focus. Album opener “Are You Listening?” begins with palpable urgency, building anticipation for Lynn’s svelte voice.