The Bowery Presents
My Morning Jacket's One Big Holiday

My Morning Jacket's One Big Holiday

My Morning Jacket - THREE shows, Gary Clark Jr., The Head and the Heart, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Preservation Hall Jazz Band - TWO shows, Deer Tick - TWO shows (acoustic sunset show + late night show), Lucius, Carl Broemel - Sunset show, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs - Late night DJ set

Sat, February 4, 2017 - Wed, February 8, 2017

12:00 pm

Hard Rock Hotel (Riviera Maya, Mexico)

Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Sold Out

My Morning Jacket's One Big Holiday
My Morning Jacket's One Big Holiday
My Morning Jacket is bringing their tropical concert vacation to Mexico for the 3rd edition of One Big Holiday! Enjoy the ultimate fan experience with the amenities of an all-inclusive resort and an incredible lineup at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya from February 4-8, 2017.

We are thrilled to return to our One Big Holiday adventure!! With only the fondest of memories from our previous years scaling the cosmos of the Riviera Maya, we can’t wait to rejoin such a magical place with some of our favorite people. Excited to see our pals, old and new, all come together for music, art, magic and celebrating this thing we call life!
My Morning Jacket - THREE shows
My Morning Jacket - THREE shows
My Morning Jacket arrived at Northern California’s Stinson Beach in late 2013 thinking only about making an album. The band was not prepared to be seduced.

But within a couple of days, Jim James, Tom Blankenship, Patrick Hallahan, Carl Broemel and Bo Koster were in love with Panoramic House, a studio perched on a hillside overlooking the ocean. The natural beauty of the surrounding landscape and almost mystical serenity flooded them with a charged sense of possibilities.

“For me, every record has the spirit of where we made it,” said James, singer, guitarist and primary songwriter. “Stinson Beach was so psychedelic and focused. It was almost like we lived on our own little moon out there. It feels like you’re up in the sky.”

“The story of the record really starts there,” said Blankenship, a founding member of the Louisville-based band.

Throughout its 16 years, My Morning Jacket has always had a healthy respect for living in the moment and the inherent mysteries of creativity. They gladly took the inspiration that Stinson Beach was offering and crafted a sparkling new album, “The Waterfall,” that touches on aspects of the band’s celebrated past while pushing forward with a giddy assurance.

There are moments that reach back to early albums such as 2001’s “At Dawn” and 2003’s “It Still Moves,” the record that gave the band a much broader audience. But the experimentation that marked 2004’s “Z,” 2008’s “Evil Urges” and James’ 2013 solo album, “Regions of Light and Sound of God” is clearly in effect.

“The Waterfall” sounds like history and decades colliding, like a record made by fervent music fans in search of that tingle up the spine. Inveterate music geeks will hear echoes of vintage rock and pop as MMJ continues to honor its influences without aping any of them; “The Waterfall” sounds like nothing else but also warmly familiar.

Notions of change crop up throughout the album, as does James’ longstanding exploration of spirituality. But there’s a crucial difference: On “The Waterfall,” there are fewer questions and more action. Spirituality has become grounded and made real. “I feel like I still don’t know how to explain anything,” James said, “but I feel like I’ve accepted that and I’m just trying to live.”

James began the sessions with nearly 30 songs and kept writing. The elevating “Believe (Nobody Knows)” opens the album with a summating blast of faith and acceptance but was the last song written.

“We did a ton of songs, so at the beginning there was no intention or focus,” James said. “It was like, let’s just go play these songs and figure out which ones fit. Once we did ‘Believe,’ that kind of tied the record together.

“What fused this record is, I feel like it’s a weird turning point for the universe. I feel like so many people I know are getting divorced or having kids. There’s so much change going on and I feel like, for me, that one chapter has ended. And if you’re looking at a book, there’s a hand flipping the page up and it’s in between the chapter you just finished and the one that’s getting ready to start.

“That’s kind of the sound of this record, and my life, the sound of the page turning and not being sure what’s coming next.”

My Morning Jacket arrived in California after an unusually long time apart. Following a lengthy tour behind 2011’s acclaimed “Circuital,” band members scattered. James recorded and toured behind his 2013 solo album, “Regions of Light and Sound of God,” while Hallahan recorded “Sound of Nowhere” with Spanish Gold.

Blankenship got married and moved to Nashville, and there were dozens of other projects, recording sessions, and marathon record nights in the wilds of Louisville, where James and Hallahan still live. Always a group of friends first, the reunion at Stinson Beach was the ideal combination of intense work and potent fun.

“It’s sort of the perfect situation for us to go to an isolated place, with some limitations and not many distractions,” Broemel said. “That’s how we work best. We kind of get on the same wavelength of happiness.”

“The freedom we went into this record with took a lot of the pressure off, as far as what to do and how to do it,” Hallahan added. “The mantra was anything goes, no stone unturned, it’ll be done when it’s done. And it’s not easy to pull that off with other people’s schedules. I mean, poor Tucker.”

That would be Tucker Martine, the Portland-based producer and engineer who also worked with My Morning Jacket on “Circuital.” The band has never used the same producer twice since its first two self-produced albums, but Martine and assistant engineer Kevin Ratterman have become integral parts of the team.

Martine oversaw two sessions in California, one at his own Flora Studio and another at Ratterman’s La La Land studio in Louisville.

But in the end, it all circled back to Stinson Beach.

“Out of all the places we’ve recorded, I think that place might have informed the record on a spiritual level more than any other,” Koster said. “If you listen to ‘Like A River,’ it just sounds like Stinson Beach.

The Waterfall is the latest in a career-spanning string of success beginning with the band’s 1999 debut album The Tennessee Fire and including 2008’s Evil Urges and 2011’s Circuital which each received GRAMMY ® nominations – the latter debuting at #5 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Gary Clark Jr.
Gary Clark Jr.
Ever since 2010, when Gary Clark Jr. wowed audiences with electrifying live sets everywhere from the Crossroads Festival to Hollywood’s historic Hotel Café, his modus operandi has remained crystal clear: “I listen to everything…so I want to play everything.” The revelation that is the Austin-born virtuoso guitarist, vocalist and songwriter finds him just as much an amalgamation of his myriad influences and inspirations. Anyone who gravitated towards Clark’s, 2011’s Bright Lights EP, heard both the evolution of rock and roll and a savior of blues. The following year’s full-length debut, Blak And Blu, illuminated Clark’s vast spectrum - “Please Come Home” is reminiscent of Smokey Robinson, while “Ain’t Messin’ Around” recalls Sly and the Family Stone. 2014’s double disc Gary Clark Jr–Live projected Clark into 3D by adding palpable dimension and transcendent power –– songs soared and drifted from the epic, psychedelic-blues of “When My Train Comes In” to his anthemic, hip-hop, rock-crunch calling card, “Bright Lights”, all the way down to the deep, dark, muddy water of “When The Sun Goes Down”.

There are a handful of folks who have informed for the mélange of genres and styles, which comprise the genius of Clark. One is Michael Jackson. It was on Denver stop of MJ’s Bad Tour where a four-year-old Gary’s life was altered after witnessing The King of Pop. By the sixth grade, Clark would own his first set of strings (Ibanez RX20).

As a teen, Clark began making a local name by jamming with adult musicians around nearby clubs. He struck a balance by singing in the church choir with his sisters. That gritty & sweet combination imbues the honey-thick soul that oozes from his vocals today. The eclectic Texas circuit, though, was Clark greatest university, where another culprit in the GCJ genesis lives: Clifford Antone, ambassador of the Austin music scene. Antone’s nightclub granted Clark the honor of sharing the stage with local blues heroes like Jimmie Vaughn, Hubert Sumlin Jr, and Pinetop Perkins. This on-the-job training, combined with studying licks by literal Kings like BB, Albert and Freddie, observing the mastery of Curtis Mayfield, Miles Davis, Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Parliament-Funkadelic, and digesting the fresh edge of Tupac and Biggie, lifted the guitar prodigy up into a multi-instrumentalist, adept scribe, and undisputed music festival champ.

Now, after spending the last five years transforming audiences from the California desert to the London metropolis, acquiring fans like Barack Obama, Keith Richards, Alicia Keys and Beyoncé along the way, the 6’4 Texan needs to spread his musical wings and spectrum hues wider. This exhibition will be Clark’s second full-length worldwide album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim due from Warner Bros. Records on September 11th. The title’s inspiration is one half Clark’s Southern roots––those singers and local musicians who saw the future in this young man ––and other half, his acting debut in John Sayles’ 2007 film Honeydripper. A 23-year-old Clark played the fictitious Sonny, (in fact, already his family-given nick-name), a young musician who transformed the blues and R&B into rock and roll. On his latest, Clark isn’t trying to reinvent any wheel. He’d rather deploy as many wheels as possible in order to lead music fans toward his favorite destinations.

“The Healing” mashes blues and hip-hop into the 21st century with a Marleyesque message of hope and faith. This journey of the soul hits Mississippi on the Delta jam of “Shake,” before pulling into the spiritual station of “Church,” serving gospel made with the purist folk elements: hypnotic strum, sweet harmonica, and aloud prayers as painful as they are beautiful (dare we say, Dylan-esque). “Grinder” makes musical graffiti out of fierce, freeform wah-wah screaming that spars with rap-tough urban tension. The code is completed once Clark’s chordophone wails a salute to all guitar gods.

What this body of work accomplishes that its predecessors hadn’t is spotlight Gary Clark Jr., the artist first -- as producer, singer-songwriter -- and string master second. His textured voice and eyes-wide writing hug listeners in with a disregard for time period other than the future. The reassuring “Our Love” could’ve easily been a standard in any decade past or present; “Down To Ride”, an avant-garde, soul love letter with its sensual falsetto, classic Casio synths, and outer-space guitar fade, fits into fresh unexplored sonic territories. The trippy flight “Wings” is Clark’s most modern flip as the Outkast fan is heard in his lyrical prime: “We got issues and people get misused/and girl I miss you/but I know that we’ll get through what we go through.”

Sterling songwriting is where Mr. Clark’s evolution is arrayed best. Never has his pen’s moonshine been so in tune with the times. The Lone Star diamond gleams brightest when he’s sketching then voicing his country’s current and evergreen socio-economic tensions simultaneously. When he’s progressing the art of blues by replacing hopeless conclusion with empathy and strength. When he’s reintroducing and redefining red, white, and blue music. “Hold On,” impressively captures the struggle of being African-American in any era by stirring a pungent punch of Curtis Mayfield, Gil Scott-Heron and Buddy Guy influence over some serious (and visual) commentary. “Seems like new news is the old news from a different angle/another mother on TV crying cause her boy didn’t make it/She said, What am I gon’ do? What I’m gon’ tell these babies?”

A 2015 reply is offered on the all-consuming space-age funk of “Star.” “I am devoted to seeing you shine on,” could be a message in falsetto from Clark to those babies, his country, his family, and his innermost self. With a musical palette as gracious and glorious as Gary Clark Jr’s, the target is most likely all of the above. As Clark put his mojo in full motion on the album’s opening track, “The Healing”, he eloquently states his subtle and underlying theme that “this music” is our hope, faith and ultimate healing.
The Head and the Heart
The Head and the Heart
The Head and the Heart’s third release, Signs of Light, is due out September 9. Recorded in Nashville with producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Cage the Elephant, 2015 Producer of the Year Grammy nominee), Signs of Light crackles with the upbeat sing-a-long energy that is The Head and the Heart’s finest work to date. This will be The Head and the Heart's first release on Warner Bros. Records. Their debut single, “All We Ever Knew" is currently #1 at AAA radio and #8 at Alternative. They have released three other songs from the record in addition to “All We Ever Knew” - “Library Magic”, “Colors" and "Rhythm &Blues". The Head and the Heart will hit the road in October on their Signs of Light tour with sold out shows in Nashville at The Ryman Auditorium two nights, New York at Terminal 5 (second show added), Boston at The Orpheum, Austin at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater (second show added), and two sold out nights in Seattle at The Paramount (third show added).
Kurt Vile and the Violators
Kurt Vile and the Violators
Having been the subject and willing conspirator of many intentional lies planted in Sonic Youth bios over the years, I know first hand the way album lore can bend reality to its truth. After the infamous Byron Coley originated the SY “Trilogy” myth in the Murray Street bio, we had no choice but to fulfill those expectations with Sonic Nurse. “Why did you decide to make a trilogy?” was always the first question asked in interviews around that time.

But this is Kurt Vile’s bio, and I wont do that to him. Anyway, Kurt does his own myth making; a boy/man with an old soul voice in the age of digital everything becoming something else, which is why this focused, brilliantly clear and seemingly candid record is a breath of fresh air. Recorded and mixed in a number of locations, including Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, b’lieve i’m goin down… is a handshake across the country, east to west coast, thru the dustbowl history (“valley of ashes”) of woody honest strait forward talk guthrie, and a cali canyon dead still nite floating in a nearly waterless landscape. The record is all air, weightless, bodyless, but grounded in convincing authenticity, in the best version of singer songwriter upcycling. In Kurt’s words, “I wanted to get back into the habit of writing a sad song on my couch, with nobody waiting on me. I really wanted it to sound like it’s on my couch — not in a lo-fi way, just more unguarded and vulnerable.”

For a record that plays like a cohesive acoustic experience, its musicality marks Kurt’s departure from an electric guitar experience to include a range of instrumentation with a large group of players. From the banjo he plays on “I’m an Outlaw” to the piano and lapsteel on “Life Like This,” and the myriad other instruments on other songs, including farfisa, resonator, arps, horns and synth, one never thinks about what exactly yr listening to as it all serves the song.

The heart of the record is “Stand Inside.” The music is quiet and the melody, like a hymn, folds in on itself, and embraces full strength in a sexy, floating forcelessness that slowly gathers into a wave that doesn’t go where you think it will or rather gives in to itself and celebrates a man willing to be defined by a woman and his love for her as witness to each other’s lives… Don’t stand by my side, stand inside gives up roleplaying for true exposure and vulnerability.

It’s a weird, accepting, mature record, acknowledging the inherent immaturity of being a person whether father, husband, partner, adult, musician, not perfect, but compelling for its understanding … that’s life though so sad to say… I love this record,

b’lieve i’m goin down.

Kim Gordon
Preservation Hall Jazz Band - TWO shows
Preservation Hall Jazz Band - TWO shows
Preservation Hall was founded in 1961 to promote traditional New Orleans jazz in all its authenticity. Legendary players like George Lewis, Sweet Emma Barrett and Kid Thomas Valentine, all rooted in the formative years jazz, were its original stars. That generation is long gone now, yet the hall is still in business and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band continues to tour the world.

Therein lies a paradox: how does an institution based on an early 20th century musical culture prosper in the 21st? When asked that question on the occasion of the Hall’s 50th anniversary, Creative Director Ben Jaffe had a ready answer: “This anniversary is about the next fifty years.”

For Jaffe, 41, this not just a business question: he’s carrying on a family tradition started by his parents, Allan and Sandra Jaffe, who were instrumental in founding the Hall and turning it into an internationally known cultural icon. When Ben took over the operation in 1995, he faced the challenge of keeping it going with a dwindling band of veteran musicians and an aging audience base. His solution has been to inject the touring band with new blood, bringing in some younger players with fresh musical ideas and to form collaborations with groups and musicians from outside the New Orleans tradition. In recent years, the PHJB has performed and recorded with a wide array of musicians, ranging from groups like My Morning Jacket, Tom Waits, Merle Haggard, Pete Seeger, and the Del McCoury Bluegrass Band. The culmination of this collaborative effort was the sellout 50th anniversary concert that the PHJB hosted at Carnegie Hall in January 2012.

This album breaks new ground for Ben and the PHJB: it’s the first time in the history of the band that it has recorded an album made up of entirely original material—most of it composed by Jaffe and members of his group. The album was co-produced by Ben Jaffe and Jim James, leader of My Morning Jacket, and encouraged by songwriters Paul Williams, Dan Wilson and Chris Stapleton, who co-wrote three of the titles with the band. Band members Charlie Gabriel, Rickie Monie, and Clint Maedgen also pitched in on some of the compositions.

Once the material was written and rehearsed, Jim James and his sound engineer Kevin Ratterman drove down from Louisville with a van full of equipment and set it up among the splintery wooden benches and smoky paintings in Preservation Hall. That recording session produced the eleven tracks on this historic album.

Though it was not unheard of in the past for Preservation Hall musicians to compose some of the music they performed—drummer Paul Barbarin wrote “Bourbon Street Parade” and clarinetist George Lewis wrote “Burgundy Street Blues,” for example—this album marks the first time that a substantial body of new music was created by the band and entered the Preservation Hall repertoire. This constitutes a rich lode of fresh material not only for the current members of the touring PHJB, but also for other musicians who play at the hall and may be inspired to pick up on some of these songs. In the heyday of the Jazz Age, New Orleans musicians learned new tunes all the time by listening to what their peers were doing in the dance halls and on their recordings. One of the aims of this album is to stimulate that kind of cross-pollination among today’s New Orleans jazzmen.

Though some traditional jazz purists may be surprised, the broader public will hopefully find this music engaging, enthralling—and irresistibly danceable. No one who hears Jaffe’s funky tuba lines, Joe Lastie’s backbeat drumming and the band’s groove on tunes like “The Darker it Gets” could doubt the group’s traditional New Orleans roots.

On the other hand, Clint Maedgen’s boozy “August Nights,” with it’s haunting tenor sax riffs and sultry muted trumpet work by Mark Braud, is a Tom Waits-like hymn to urban despair that would be at home on any barroom jukebox in the world. The punchy horn-section riffs on “Come With Me” and “That’s It” have a bite and exuberance that recall the Ellington big band sound. “I Think I Love You,” is a pop tune with a Caribbean beat and a smooth, sexy vocal by 80-year-old reedman Charlie Gabriel (with Jim James singing backup).

In addition to Gabriel, Ronell Johnson (“Dear Lord Give Me the Strength,” “Halfway Right, Halfway Wrong”) and Fred Lonzo (“Rattlin’ Bones”) turn in strong vocal performances that underscore the wide variety of talent this band embraces.

In short, “That’s It” is an eclectic album that draws on the collective experience of players nurtured in the New Orleans tradition but determined to build something fresh and exciting on that foundation. It marks an important milestone in Jaffe’s crusade to carry forward the Hall’s original mission while making it relevant to today’s audiences. For his part, co-producer Jim James is convinced that the PHJB has a future as vibrant as its past: “The music will speak forever,” he says. “Will people stop listening to Beethoven? Will people stop listening to Bob Dylan? Will people stop listening to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band?”

Not if Ben Jaffe can help it. “My parents were never preservationists in any strict sense,” he says. “They simply presented the music the way the old jazzmen wanted to play it. This is the music we want to play today. We’ll continue to do the old standards, along with new material that allows us to be creative and relevant. With this album, I wanted to do something that would challenge us and make us proud.” That’s it.
Deer Tick - TWO shows (acoustic sunset show + late night show)
Deer Tick - TWO shows (acoustic sunset show + late night show)
John McCauley and Deer Tick have long walked a tightwire between total despair and fractured resilience, but Negativity represents a heroic leap forward on virtually all fronts for the Providence, Rhode Island-based band. Recorded earlier this year in Portland, Oregon with legendary producer/musician Steve Berlin (The Blasters, Los Lobos, and last year’s McCauley side project, Diamond Rugs), the album –Deer Tick's fifth full-length studio release, and follow-up to 2011’s acclaimed Divine Providence – is McCauley’s most personal work thus far as well as the band’s most undeniable and universal, their famously freewheeling musical approach refined here into a gloriously cohesive whole.

Negativity was penned over the course of a genuinely eventful 2012, an annus horribilus in which McCauley’s father pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy and tax fraud, ultimately leading to prison. “Mr. Sticks” – which takes its title from the senior McCauley’s childhood nickname – is “about my father going to jail and all the things he may miss,” but when the son sings “With a hug and a kiss/You may say goodbye to all you've ever known,” you get the sense he might be talking to himself.

For if that seemingly untenable situation weren’t enough, McCauley’s own personal life was equally shambolic, his notoriously excessive behavior and impossible lifestyle escalating to the point where his imminent wedding engagement was finally called off. Like any true artist, he channeled the anger, melancholy, and regret into his work, resulting in what can be safely declared his finest collection of songs to date, impassioned and interior and increasingly mature, both as expression of emotion as well as pure unadulterated songcraft.

“This record is me pulling myself out of the funk I was in,” McCauley says. “I wouldn’t say I was depressed, I think it was more than that. A lot of those days, I just felt like a waste and I didn’t truly recognize it. There’s a lot of time that I just don’t remember at all and it’s kinda frightening."

Drugs – hard drugs – figure significantly throughout the album, much as they did in McCauley’s life itself. “Big House” – which dates back to McCauley’s earliest songwriting efforts – tells of a friend’s cyclical battles with heroin, while “Pot of Gold” is “a stream of consciousness recollection of what went through my head and what kinds of misadventures I got myself into when I was doing crack. It also touches on the guilt I felt when I came down from the high.”

Deer Tick – sounding as sure-footed as one would expect from a band who have spent a couple of hundred nights each year on stage for more than half a decade – more than match the strength of the songs by taking a more detailed approach than on some of the breakneck recordings of their past. From the sparkling baroque pop of “The Dream’s In The Ditch” (penned by guitarist Ian O’Neil) to the full-blown Memphis showstopper, “Trash,” Negativity sees the Tick bridging boozy punk, AM gold, bar band blues, country soul, and whatever else catches their fancy into their own profoundly American rock ‘n’ roll. Additional sonic color comes courtesy of magnificently arranged brass accompaniment by Austin, Texas’s GRAMMY®-winning Latin fusion collective, Grupo Fantasma.

While Deer Tick have been rightfully hailed for their raucous rave-ups and substance-fueled fervor, Negativity places considerable focus on the band’s nuanced and tender side, with notable highlights including the wrenching breakup ballad, “Hey Doll,” and the stunning “In Our Time.” Written from his father’s perspective, the song is a timeless country tearjerker featuring McCauley’s good friend, singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton singing duet vocals in the “role” of his mom.

“My parents have had a long and seemingly healthy marriage since before I was born,” McCauley says. “That whole year, as I watched my family deal with my dad's looming sentencing date, I’d never seen my parents like that. This was the first time I ever saw them really struggle. Lots of silence and lots of yelling. But despite all of it, they’re still married. I guess they must really love each other.”

Love, McCauley well knows, can save a man. Bottom was definitely in sight when the proverbial good woman pulled him from the brink, giving him the inner strength to both carry on as well as to imbue Negativity with far more than just endless sadness and suffering.

“I met a really amazing woman who made me realize the consequences of my actions were just getting bigger and bigger,” he says. “Without her, I don’t think I would have changed anything and that’s frightening as hell.”

“I guess I’ll catch you on the other side,” McCauley sings in the album’s final moment, a promise that, despite the pain and fatalism and yes, negativity, he’s here for the long haul. Heartbreaking, fist-pumping, and ultimately life-affirming, Negativity stands as an indisputable high water mark for Deer Tick – a defining collection from a rock ‘n’ roll band driven by an undying faith in the power of redemption and transcendence.

“My relationship has made me want to be better,” says John McCauley. “I want to be healthier and more responsible for my actions. I want to be around for a long time.”

-Michael Krugman | June 2013
Lucius
Lucius
What a difference three years makes. Lucius went from being the five-piece Rolling Stone claimed was the “Best Band you’ve never heard of” to the group you can’t get enough of.

Fronted by the sleek and compelling look-alike twosome of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig and backed by their counterpart bandmates Dan Molad, Pete Lalish and Andy Burri, Lucius spent more than 250 days on the road in the past year. They’ve sold out shows big and small, headlined all over the US and Europe, played slots at Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Lollapalooza, End of The Road, Reading and Leeds Festivals and more and shared the stage with a variety of musicians including Roger Waters, Jack White, Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy, Sara Bareilles, The Head and the Heart, Tegan and Sara and David Byrne.

The band’s uphill ascent began when Jess and Holly crossed paths while at college in Boston; more than 10 years ago, Lucius started making music and hasn’t stopped since. Along the way they’ve become NPR darlings, grist for Britain’s prestigious Guardian and favorites of the Nobel-prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Since the critically acclaimed release of their 2013 debut LP Wildewoman they have built a stunningly loyal following, and share an intimate bond with their fans. It’s not uncommon to see Lucius doppelgängers in the crowd.

Sitting with Jess and Holly to discuss the band’s sonically-grand and emotionally-honest sophomore release Good Grief, the first thing that strikes you when you meet the frontwomen of Lucius is how fine-boned and delicate they both are. But even more striking is that they don’t actually look alike once you see them offstage. Their builds are markedly different: Jess is curvy, with a generous mouth and eyes that tilt up at the corners; Holly is willowy and angular, serious and with the pale complexion that conjures up the image of a Nordic princess.

But despite the six-inch disparity in their height on stage you could swear they were identical. Of course it helps that they always dress exactly alike, their hair is the same style and shade — right now a warm curry red — and they sing in a strong unison, doubling their high, clear voices and creating a third sound that is as unnerving as it is lovely, like two mirrors, creating an infinite number of reflections that reveal as much as they obscure.

“We wanted to feel like we were transforming ourselves and going into a different head space while performing,” Jess says. “In some way I think what we do is like a fantasy. We wanted to take people along with us for a ride. We wanted to present that visually so when you look at us you’re seeing what you’re hearing."

What you’re hearing (and seeing) when Lucius takes the stage are two voices becoming one. The band’s distinctive play on duality showcases Jess and Holly’s powerful voices at the center — bolstered and surrounded by the mathematically precise drumming of Dan with the graceful, chiming guitars of Pete and Andy. Together the quintet create a sound the New Yorker calls “seemingly impossible with flawless grace that brings delicate beauty to even the most bombastic moments.”

The recordings on Lucius’ second studio album Good Grief mirror the band’s distinguishing on-stage configuration. One shared figure 8 mic serves as an anchor for conversation between the band’s lead duo, which has resulted in the 11 raw and often heart wrenching songs you hear on the album. Among these is the explosive track “Gone Insane,” which gives a direct look into one of the few arguments between Jess and Holly.

“Some songs really feel like an expulsion of emotions, beyond your control,” Holly says. “The writing of ‘Gone Insane’ was based on the feeling after one of those loose cannon type of heated fights, with helplessness and rage hitting you in alternating waves.”

“But maybe the perfect description of this song comes in the recording process,” Jess adds. “Holly and I have seen maybe three arguments in the past 12 years. But perhaps the biggest of all, came the day we were to record this song. Emotions were running high, and at some point, Holly blew up at me. In shock, I yelled back and we both stormed off.

“This was a prime example of our partnership because a short while later she returned, we apologized, hugged and immediately went to record. It was just the two of us in the dark. There was no plan for vocal arrangement, we wanted to use the intensity of the moment and go for it. The ‘falling off’ part at the end of the song was completely organic, the two of us screaming into the same mic, losing it, together, in song form, as the lyrics suggest."

“It was definitely one of those magic studio moments you can't quite explain,” Holly finishes.

A majority of the tracks on Good Grief fall in line with the overarching theme of discovering the goodness that can come from any hardship. The album proves to be a release for the band both physically and emotionally, after experiencing the highs and lows of being on the road for almost two years, the band moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn where the album was recorded during the spring and early summer of 2015 at Grammy-winning engineer and producer Shawn Everett’s studio.
However, a few songs including the first single “Born Again Teen” became what Holly describes as something like “the antithesis of the other things that we were working on, to give ourselves some relief."

From the first swooping, synthy intro of “Something About You” to the alarm-clock menace of “What We Have (To Change),” there’s a sense that these expertly wrought pop songs are full of emotional depth.

They veer from sassy, soul-drenched vocals to glitzy rhythmic pop to songs that call up the charm and crushed innocence of '60s girl groups, but in the end there is no comparison to the dark secrets Jess and Holly convey when they put their two voices together.

“There are songs here that are deeply personal and emotional, and in a way we’ve exposed ourselves to reveal parts that are fragile, maybe even a little broken, but not destroyed,” Jess says. “There’s certainly a little bit of humor, and there’s also a lot of truth and sadness."

The lyrics of Good Grief read like personal journal entries because the friendship and writing partnership established between the band’s cofounders has given the women of Lucius an outlet to express their unusually parallel experiences.

“I always say Holly’s been the healthiest and longest relationship I’ve ever had,” Jess says.

That relationship has clearly blossomed musically into a many-faceted, enthralling sound and image sure to resonate deeply with music lovers everywhere.

March 2016 brings the release of Good Grief, the band’s highly anticipated sophomore effort.
Venue Information:
Hard Rock Hotel (Riviera Maya, Mexico)
Carretera Cancún-Chetumal KM 72
Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico, CP. 77710