“Letters to Ghosts” is Lucie Silvas’ first album in nearly ten years after having released “Breathe In” in 2004 and “The Same Side” in 2006. The album was recorded in Nashville with a tight knit group of friends, and produced by Silvas, John Osborne (Brothers Osborne) and Ian Fitchuk, and is released on September 18th on Lucie’s own label, Furthest Point Records.
It is a well-crafted roots album with outlaw country, pop, Americana and Motown soul sensibilities woven throughout each of the tracks. The record takes the listener on a sonically eclectic yet cohesive journey full of emotional poignancy. The common theme of the record is honesty. And I’m not talking the sugar coated, photo shopped kind of honesty that we usually expect from musicians, where even their most ugly realities and experiences are prettified or framed as a “rebirth” or “evolution”. No, Silvas addresses all the good, the bad and the ugly elements of her personality, and does so in a completely transparent and human way.
“Every bit of everything I’ve got in myself went into this music; the energy, the emotion and the story. I never felt the same freedom to tell the truth about myself before – the good and bad – and that’s the only way I want to make music, from a genuine place.”
“Letters to Ghosts” is just that: letters to ghosts both past and present. With each letter, or song, telling a story of one woman’s experience in love, in heartbreak, in letting go and moving on, and in self-destruction and its’ better half, self-discovery.
From the atmospheric and moody, gospel tinged ‘Roots’ about not wanting to move on and staying in that painful place of hurt and heartbreak, for fear of losing that person who has already left.
“There is fear in the thought of freedom/ There are ways out and I see them/ But I choose to be held captive/ As crazy as I know that is.”
To the beautifully delicate love song ‘Pull The Stars Down’, where we are introduced to a different side of Lucie’s vocals; raspy, soft and vulnerable, perhaps mimicking the ways in which love leaves us feeling. The track has a lullaby quality to it, with the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar and the presence of the xylophone, making you believe you are looking up at a starry night with your love standing by your side.
“I swear it’s true/ I’d do the same for you/ Cos when we’re together the calmer the seas/ And this big ole’ world ain’t as big as it seems/ You pull the stars down/ I just have to reach out.”
‘Find A Way’ is one of the standout tracks on the album, mainly because it is just so unexpected. Here you have, what you think is intrinsically a roots album with smatterings of pop here and outlaw country there, but then this song creeps up on you. A song sonically and lyrically reminiscent of Motown Soul; the funky and blues laden electric guitar riffs coupled with the up-tempo and fast paced percussion, all brought together by Lucie’s gorgeously sultry yet innocent sounding vocals. The happy go lucky vibe with utterly heartbreaking lyrics that Motown were so good at perfecting, Silvas nails down effortlessly.
“The more you shut me out/ You see me come runnin’, runnin’, runnin’/ The more I turn it around/ You say you got nothin’, nothin’, nothin’/ You’re a model of experience/ I see you I’ve been here before, everytime/ Somebody else will leave it/ But this boy’s gonna change just for me.”
“Letters to Ghosts” closes with a cover of Roy Orbison’s ‘You Got It’. Unlike Orbison’s up-tempo original, Silvas’ arrangement is sparser and slower, giving the song a sadder, more melancholy edge and allowing her voice the space to breathe the song in and out. The reimagining of the song allows the listener to shape it to whatever they desire; whether that be finding a love that makes you feel leveled and understood or that of unrequited love and longing.
“One look at you and I drift away/ I pray that you are here to stay/ Anything you want you got it/ Anything you need you got it.”
Honesty and authenticity seem to be the pillars in which “Letters to Ghosts” is built around; whether that be the way in which the stories told or the overall sound of the album. This record is definitely different from Silvas’ first two, however, it is not a complete departure, just a natural evolution of lyricism and sound. There’s no bold statement declaring that all her previous work was inauthentic or “not really her”. “Letters to Ghosts” is simply an expression of being human and what it feels like to experience life.
“It’s important to tell the truth about who you are, or at least the truth as you see it! Not everyone is gonna like the true version of you, but they might not like the fake version of you either so I know which one I’d rather be.”
For a taste of more tracks from the album, click here.