New Bern, NC – INTRO - The Ashville-based singer/songwriter Eliza Lynn recently released her third CD. It does what artists do best in to misquote another artist taking a sad song and making it better. George Olsen recently spoke with the performer about her new disc "Haven" and has this.
To actually be creative I look at a block of granite and wonder how it got there. An artist looks at that same block of granite and sees the sculpture that lies within. I swallow a bone and cough until I hack it up. A musician gets a bone lodged in her throat and finds a song.
"We were doing a graduation from the Diabetes Wellness program and my first bite of we had a dinner followed by the graduation is when I swallowed that chicken bone and we didn't actually have any bread, because that's what everyone says, to eat bread, so I had to go to the gas station after graduation with this chicken bone stuck in my throat and I felt like I had to tell the attendant why I was buying this loaf of white bread and I told him now I have to go sing and he said "well, maybe you'll vibe it loose," and I thought that was such an Asheville thing to say."
Asheville's Eliza Lynn and "Chicken Bone" off her new CD "Haven." She was a diabetes wellness co-ordinator for the YWCA in Asheville "was" being the operative word. After splitting time between her music and her job, she's taken the plunge and gone into music full-time, "Haven" being her first disc since making the move a bit over a year ago and her third overall. Her initial discs included many references to her working and living existence in Asheville a face-to-snout encounter with a bear or a client she worked with that she drew inspiration from. Now she's somewhat removed from that everyday environment and from those inspirations so she found inspiration from a less desirable source but, being an artist, found the art within.
"Right about the time I quit my job a year ago I was also going through a huge break-up and that was fodder for songs not that I would wish that upon myself anytime in the near future it was an amazing gift to have this art to get through that and have it as my healing force. This new CD is how I got to feeling better again. The process of recording this CD got me to the other side, so there was plenty of fodder."
"Haven" touches on her emotional state on several of the discs' tracks, making it far more personal than her initial two discs. She says the writing and recording of "Haven" was all part of her "process of healing," part of which she describes in penning the lyrics for the track "More."
"I just experienced this kind of relief through my body like a big sigh, You know, something is let go of. That process allows me then to be in myself and name the next pieces that need to be named. I do feel like there's a part of me that writes when I'm broken, and the writing into it is like the skin healing over a wound. It just really is sort of this amazing process."
"Haven" isn't a disc entirely devoted to the topic of the break-up of a relationship our earlier visit to the track "Chicken Bone" makes that pretty obvious. The tune "Junkie" wasn't originally written with that break-up in mind. It decries people's habits of grabbing a hold of the negative in regards to themselves and not paying attention to their own positive attributes. She wrote that partly in regards to her own self-doubts as a performer in a sea of musicians as she splits time between Asheville and Nashville, TN but after the fact saw it might offer relationship advice as well.
"That sense of just not feeling good enough and always looking to the outside and only allowing the things that confirm you're not good enough to be heard and not the things that are all around you, saying you're wonderful, you're plenty, you're more than enough but that you neglect those things because that's not your internal reality and you wait until you hear the one person that's going yuck see, my internal reality is confirmed."
While the disc reflects her new reality as a person outside of a relationship, one track in particular looks at the new reality of life as a full-time musician "Rush of the Fall" and the highs and lows from a life more often than not on the road
"Sometimes I think this artist's life gives you a lot of glory and loneliness and it's a strange juxtaposition because you'll be out with people and they're clapping for you oh my gosh, that's an incredible thing then you get back in your car and its just you driving away. So I think learning how to ride that wave is really one of the biggest skills I'll learn being a singer-songwriter."
One of the highlights from "Haven" is outside Eliza's role as a songwriter covering a pair of well-known gospel tunes. She takes the gospel rouser "I'll Fly Away" and turns it into a minor-key lament to wonderful effect, and the disc's closer "Be Thou My Vision" neatly rounds out what for her was a part of moving on.
"That is a song that I've loved for a long time. It's one of those songs that when I'm in pain I sing that song. So I wanted to have that be on the CD because it is part of my process of healing and that is what this whole disc is about."
"Haven" by Asheville's Eliza Lynn is available on her own Civility Records. I'm George Olsen.