'True Detective's' bar singer Lera Lynn on finale: 'I thought it was really sad'
Lera Lynn admits finding a new audience for sad, slow songs is a tough feat, but she knows now that performing as the "Greek chorus" of hit HBO show "True Detective" is a real avenue for lovers of the down-and-out.
In an interview today (Aug. 10) -- a day after the Season 2 finale -- Lynn is happy to report that more people are coming to her shows and more doors are being opened after she spent the summer singing in what could be The World's Saddest Venue -- Frank's bar.
Lynn collaborated with famed producer T Bone Burnett and songwriter Roseanne Cash to create the eerie, depressing laments for her "strung out" Siren, on Nic Pizzolatto's show. But don't mistake it: she's more than glad to have gone through it. Read our Q&A below, on what her character really was, what her plans are next, and if Frank's bar is really the worst room ever.
HitFix: So, what’d you think of the finale?
Lera Lynn: Oh my god. I thought it was really sad.
Is that what you expected?
No, not at all. The most heartbreaking part was Ray’s phone not uploading that voice memo to his son at the end. <Long sigh>
A lot of people are still questioning who and what you are on the show. Are you an apparition?
You’d have to ask Nic. <Laughs> I have no idea!
How have you described your role to friends and fans as the show’s gone on?
The role is almost like a modern day Greek chorus. Those moments in the show are when the audience gets to review what’s happened, and take a break from the action and piece together the story and there’s the music’s in the background.
…I guess. It’s still such a mystery, the whole thing!
Do you feel sad now that it’s over?
I do. I wish it could keep going. It just seemed like there’s a lot of the story that’s still untold. Maybe that was the intention, to let everybody fill in the gaps for themselves. That’s what music is a lot of the time, too.
How has this experience philosophically or creatively influenced you, going forward?
It’s showing me that there’s a much wider spectrum, emotionally, that is appealing to people as listeners. When you’re an up-and-coming artist, it’s difficult to build a fanbase around sad and slower [music]. It’s definitely something that people crave and appreciate and enjoy. Being part of the show, I’ve been able to connect with so many new fans who express their gratitude for that kind of music. It’s opened a lot of creative doors for me.
I’ve always appreciated and enjoyed making that kind of music, but again its tough to do when you don’t have an audience for it. I think it just broadens my creative perspective.
Did you feel like you were your own character? Was there a great amount of acting on your part to sing these sad songs?
Not really. I think the only “acting” would be just a performance – the live performance or the lack thereof. I was supposed to be pretty strung out, not really connecting with the audience, not really performing for anybody but myself.
Musically, I think the reason T Bone asked me to collaborate with him is he saw that element in my music. I’ve touched on it in recordings, but it’s never been encouraged to the degree that it has with T Bone.
Does your character live at Ray’s bar?
Yeah, maybe, I guess so? She leaves at the end though, right?
Everything about that character is that she seems trapped. And everyone on the show seems trapped. Trapped in this weird limbic state of life where everyone’s trying to get somewhere else that they can’t go.
Talk about the influence of Roseanne Cash and T Bone Burnett’s on your songwriting.
They’re masters of their craft, in how effortlessly they work. Its difficult to find that kind of dynamic within yourself when you’re writing or creating anything of any kind. Effortless acting, singing… being able to tap into your intuition and letting it flow freely. They’re both great at that.
It’s a tough, constant battle to trust yourself, and let it flow. It was inspiring to be around, and obviously really helpful for me just working on the show. It increased my writing output significantly.
Are you going to be writing happy songs from here on out?
<Laughs> A chaser?
I think it’s going to run the full spectrum.
What was your favorite song or performance from the whole season?
I think “My Least Favorite Life” or “The Only Things Worth Fighting For.”
There were songs we wrote that didn’t make the show, too.
What’s the plan with all this music then?
I think the plan is to release the music through Harvest [Records] soon. But I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find out about the plan at the same time and way as the rest of us.
Were there other songs and artists that helped define the mood you were going for on the show?
When we were making this music, I was listening to Timber Timbre a lot. I love that band. The production is dark and groovy at the same time. Mysterious. I could see that music easily fitting in to Season 2.
Had you ever played a bar like Frank’s bar before this experience?
So many. And worse.
What was the worst room you’ve ever played?
Well, not naming names, but there’s been a really disgusting smoking-allowed-indoors type sports bar, or two. Or three. Where everybody’s watching football and don’t give a sh*t that you’re playing music.
That’s the part that hurts -- not that the room’s disgusting, but that people just don’t care.
What’s next for you, and your music?
We’re planning a big tour this fall, from Nashville to Seattle. Taking my whole band. It’ll be a big long adventure.
And we’re trying to get a record done. We’ve done a couple songs, but it’s crunch time, now, right?
Here are Lera Lynn's confirmed tour dates (with more TBA):
Sept. 17 – Nashville, TN – The Mercy (Americana Music Festival)
Sept. 19-20 – Bristol, TN - Bristol Rhythm and Brews Fest
Sept. 23 – Birmingham, AL - WorkPlay
Sept. 24 - Little Rock, AR -South on Main- Oxford American
Sept. 25 - Dallas, TX - Kessler Theater
Sept. 26 – Austin, TX - The Parish
Sept. 29 – Phoenix, AZ - Musical Instrument Museum
Oct. 1 - Pioneertown, CA - Pappy & Harriet's
Oct. 2 – Los Angeles, CA -The Troubadour
Oct. 6 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
Oct. 7 - Seattle, WA - Triple Door
Oct. 9 - Salt Lake City, UT - State Room
Oct. 10 – Denver, CO - Daniels Hall
Oct. 12 - Kansas City, MO - Knuckleheads
Oct. 13 - St. Louis, MO - Blueberry Hill
Oct. 14 – Louisville, KY - Headliners Music Hall
Oct. 16 – Knoxville, TN - Square Room
Oct. 17 – Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsey