Live Review

True Deception: Lera Lynn Shows Surprising Spunk at Seattle's Triple Door

Lera Lynn on October 7, 2015

In 2010, I attended a show at Seattle’s Crocodile headlined by Kate Tucker, a great-looking singer who makes great-sounding music. She sounded fine that night, but there was a kittenish plasticity about her stage presence that was rather off-putting and very L.A. I was expecting something along those lines when I saw Lera Lynn at Seattle’s Triple Door last night, and am pleased to report that I didn’t get what I anticipated.

Lynn has been putting out sultry, noirish Americana music for several years now, but it was her turn as the lounge singer on the latest season of HBO’s True Detective that exposed her to an enviably large audience. She would haggardly turn up in virtually every episode, playing brooding tunes to near-empty rooms and looking as though she was in the midst of a three-day speedball bender. At the time, it was impossible to separate the character in the show from the real-life Lynn, as those were undeniably her songs (some of which were written with T Bone Burnett) coming out of her pouty lips.

In person, Lynn is fresh-faced and luminous; clad in a floppy, dark fedora, she resembled a cross between Sheryl Crow (whom she recently opened for) and Susanna Hoffs. While her compositions can be haunting, her personality is just a shade cooler than spunky. Smoky and limber, her voice calls Margo Timmins or Fiona Apple to mind, and her guitar-playing is commanding. Not content to strum in the background behind her capable sidemen, Lynn played lead on several songs. It might be her name alone on the marquee, but onstage she’s a surprisingly selfless part of a functioning band.

The Triple Door is a subterranean jewel box of a venue that perfectly showcases moody, intimate music, and some of Lynn’s oeuvre can be classified as such. But just as often, she veers toward honky tonk, and has an affinity for the classics. During the second half of her set, she and her band dropped their instruments and sang an a cappella version of The Zombies’ “The Way I Feel Inside,” and for her encore, she brought out her opening act, Brian Whelan, for a stunning cover of Conway Twitty’s “Almost Persuaded.”

Lynn referred to her Hollywood stint in only the vaguest of terms, never once mentioning True Detective by name. It’s difficult to think that the show has been anything but a net blessing for her career, but she’s hardly using it as a platform to vault toward superstardom. Her songs escapes all genre boxes; it’s impossible to envision a commercial radio station of any kind queuing them up on-air. She has a vision for the type of music she makes, and is grateful for whoever might come see her play it. I’d like to think this is a viable recipe for a long, rewarding career.

 

When I was watching her set from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass this year I kept thinking she looked familiar.  You can watch her daylight outdoor set on line.  I did not realize that she was the singer in True Detective.  Thanks for the review. 

http://www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com/2015/webcast/archive.html