Hello, from Albatross City!
About Albatross City:
Lydia Brownfield: acoustic, electric guitar, bass, vocals
Jeff Dalrymple: bass guitar, electric guitar, vocals, resonator, other
Ty Landrum: drums, percussion, bass, vocals, other
Singer/songwriter Lydia Brownfield's latest project, Albatross City, is an audio-visual, multi-media event showcasing Lydia's original songs accompanied by original video. The three-piece ensemble includes Ty Landrum on a standing "cocktail" drum kit equipped with acoustic and electronic percussion, and Jeff Dalrymple and Lydia switching between bass guitar, and a variety of other guitars.
The songs were written with purpose and are each accompanied by a short film/video created by Lydia. The show is crafted with close attention to detail including pre-recorded sound effects setting moods, and for changing of instruments among the group. Their sound is a twist of swampy pop, and indie singer/songwriter, with electronic undertones.
Still with catchy hooks and the memorable choruses – that Lydia is known for, the songs feel explicitly poignant, and deal with the often bipolar mix of emotion that is our collective human experience. Thoughtfully twisted with beauty and rage, there's an underlying theme which is the blessing and curse (not unlike the metaphorical albatross around one's neck) that plagues artists everywhere.
In some cases, the lightness of the music perfectly balances the depth of the subject matter, which is often veiled by self-deprecating humor. The dramatic storytelling on the surface seems light at first, but reveals itself to be truly dark and heavy underneath (A Foolish Girl). In other cases it’s dark on dark (Cover You Up), with stories of escape (I’m Gonna Run), rage (Like A City), and loneliness (It Wouldn’t Take Much). In every case, the humanity we all experience is tangible and close to the surface.
Look for this wonderfully inspired performance by Lydia and Albatross City, plus listen for the drip of singles to be peppered about the Columbus airwaves over the coming months.
So, what's up with the Albatross?
There's a metaphor about the giant albatross. It stems from the poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the late 1790’s. It’s a fascinating story about a mariner whose ship and crew get turned around and an albatross appears to lead them out of danger, but the mariner shoots and kills the albatross after which all kinds of disasters happen. The mariner is blamed for all the misfortunes that befall the ship and crew (because he killed the bird, which was an omen of good luck) and must wear the dead albatross around his neck.
The metaphor says that because the albatross shows you the way it's a blessing, but because you killed it and now you’re wearing it around your neck it's an annoying burden. In music, the term albatross is sometimes used metaphorically to describe the mixed blessing and curse of a song that becomes so popular it overshadows the rest of the artist's work. All the albatross metaphors basically say the same thing: the albatross around one’s neck is a heavy burden or curse that has become an obstacle for achieving success.
So with that, and on a very personal level - and from a certain perspective - the “gift” of writing songs can also feel like a curse. That perspective is brutal. It's taboo, noone likes to talk about it, but it's real and it can make a songwriters life difficult. It's a perspective of the ugliest kind. And when I find myself indulging in that vantage point, it can feel like I have become an albatross around my albatross’s neck. I am the burden to my albatross.
So down this rabbit hole was born my song, Dear Albatross, and the band name. Adding the word "City" on the end because I’m not alone in this feeling. Artists everywhere are asking these questions and "city" feels communal, or inclusive of all musicians and artists in general trying to make a living. (Also, if you say Albatross City fast it sounds like albatrocity, Alb-Atrocity, get it?)