The Avenues — Lera Lynn's second collection of haunting, husky Americana — is driving the Nashville transplant toward some interesting places.
As of last night, those places include The Late Show With David Letterman, where Lynn kicked off the week by performing the album's opening track, "Out to Sea," with a band that included guitarist Ben Lewis (a rotating member of groups like honeyhoney and Of Montreal) and producer/pedal steel player Joshua Grange (an alum of Lionel Richie, Sheryl Crow and k.d. lang's touring bands). The gig was Lynn's first of the year, arriving four months after The Avenues' release. [Watch the performance above.]
Although originally recorded in Los Angeles, "Out to Sea" conjures up images of a different sort of location: an imagined, windswept place where the day always seems to hover around sundown, the townspeople speak in low whispers and Chris Isaak battles Mazzy Star for space on the jukebox. The song's studio recording is fairly dense, beefed up by the trebly punch of a banjo and the soft sweep of Grange's production. Adapting that version for the The Late Show performance, though, Lynn and company strip the song down to its core ingredients — pedal steel, upright bass, twin electric guitars and percussion — proving that the strength is in the song, not the arrangement.