Singer/songwriter Lucy Dacus’s forthcoming release Historian will be available on March 2nd via Matador Records. Along with the announcement, Dacus is sharing the lead-track “Night Shift” which is now available to stream.
On “Night Shift”
The track boasts a devastatingly powerful vocal performance and scathing lyrics telling off a former lover, the only breakup song Dacus has ever written. “You’ve got a 9-5 so I’ll take the night shift / And I’ll never see you again if I can help it,” she declares with hopeful determination, “In five years I hope the songs feel like covers / Dedicated to new lovers.”
“This is the album I needed to make,” says Dacus, who views Historian as her definitive statement as a songwriter and musician. “Everything after this is a bonus.”
Dacus and her band recorded the album in Nashville last March, re-teaming with No Burden producer Collin Pastore, and mixed it a few months later with John Congleton. The sound they created, with substantial input from multi-instrumentalist and live guitarist Jacob Blizard, is far richer and fuller than the debut — an outward flowering of dynamic, living, breathing rock and roll. Dacus’ remarkable sense of melody and composition are the driving force throughout, giving Historian the immersive feel of an album made by an artist in full command of her powers, on a new level of truth-telling and melodic grace.
She emphasises that she does not take her newfound platform as a touring musician for granted. “I have this job where I get to talk to people I don’t know every night,” she remembers thinking on the long van rides across America to support No Burden. Realising that she would have a dramatically expanded audience for her second album, she felt an urgent call to make something worthwhile: “The next record should be the thing that’s most important to say.”
The past year, with its electoral disasters and other assorted heartbreaks, has been a rough one for many of us, Dacus included. She found solace in crafting a thoughtful narrative arc for Historian, writing a concept album about cautious optimism in the face of adversity, with thematic links between songs that reveal themselves on repeat listens — touching on everything from systemic racism to creative burnout to the death of her grandmother. “It starts out dark and ends hopeful, but it gets darker in between; it goes to the deepest, darkest, place and then breaks,” she explains. “What I’m trying to say throughout the album is that hope survives, even in the face of the worst stuff.”
1. Night Shift
3. The Shell
5. Yours & Mine
6. Body To Flame
8. Next Of Kin
9. Pillar Of Truth