Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
There is a rusted brilliance that comes out of the rural worlds that Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles sing about. In the air, there's a scent of silage and a smell of working bodies, of clothing that's been worn a few days in-a-row. There's a feeling of greasy hair and of the beauty that stalks through the darkness, popping into drinking establishments, testing their luck and tipping them back, quickly at first and then slower when they see what they're doing. These are people who are broken, but not severed. They are hanging on as well as they can. They're wishing for good grace to come to them, missing how that feels. They're trying as hard as they can to get their equilibriums back. They're teetering and tottering on the brink of lonesomeness and being somewhere they absolutely don't want to be.
These are people who have worked at their happiness so hard and for so long that they can't understand how it's not working out the way that they want it to. They have a big stack of firewood in the backyard and they intend on roasting it for their winter's warmth. They intend on throwing patches on the holes that they've worn into their knees and their elbows. If there's anything left over from their meager dinner, they'll toss it out the back door for the skinny dogs that keep coming around, whimpering.
These songs, while strong and backboned, come off sometimes as delicious whimpers, the people singing them willing to take any scraps that might come their ways. They're neither beggars nor choosers. They're survivalists and Lucy Michelle makes them sound as if they're bundled themselves up into their own cozy trenches where they whittle away, biding time. They keep their lights as bright as they can, their skin smelling like smoke and old hugs. They sing loudly when it feels right to do so and most other times, they find that they've been tamed by their circumstances. They will get theirs when they get theirs and it will taste great.