After Lucy Dacus announced her new album, Home Video, on Tuesday, she appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert for a performance of “Hot & Heavy.” Much like the single’s official video, the clip was shot in a theater in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia — a fitting location for a song about youth and nostalgia.
A majority of Home Video focuses on Dacus’ coming-of-age years in Richmond, before her 2016 debut, No Burden, earned her critical acclaim and a bidding war between labels (Matador was the winner). On the emotional bulldozer “Thumbs,” she recalls an experience she had with a friend during her freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University, which she briefly attended before leaving to pursue music. “Even if a memory is of a time I didn’t feel safe, there’s safety in looking at it, in its stability,” Dacus said.
Around the same time in 2014, Dacus began performing songs off No Burden around Richmond. In the video above, she stands on a rooftop and tears into the seven-minute “Map on a Wall.” A young Dacus strums her guitar in denim overalls and sings into a fluffy microphone, delivering lines about the urge to leave home and experience the world. It’s poignant to watch now, knowing she’d soon embark on years of touring, release three solo records, become a member of the beloved indie supergroup Boygenius, and establish herself as one of the best songwriters of her generation.
“Whenever we play it and I sing it to the crowd, I feel like I’m addressing them the most clearly at that moment,” she said of “Map on a Wall” in 2016. “That’s how I feel right now: A map doesn’t do any good on a wall, and you have to leave. It is hard to have all your relationships thrown into flux. I didn’t realize it would be like moving out. Adjusting to that is really crazy, but I’ve always had aspirations of traveling. I don’t know when that started, to want to know about the world and other people, but you have to be willing to do it in order for that to happen.”
After more than a year off the road, Dacus plans to return to crowds this fall. It shouldn’t be a surprise that she’ll kick off the trek in Richmond, where it all began.