Country-Western music and Americana are making a comeback in a big way in the modern American music scene, with a number of artists taking cues from the finger-picking vagabonds of yesteryear and mixing them with modern production techniques and complex arrangements to achieve an updated sound. With buzzwords like “alt-country” and “dark folk” being thrown around all the time these days, it’s refreshing to hear an artist who looks to the music traditions of the past and sees no reason to muddy it with modern sounds. Lo Carmen is one such musician, whose new album Lovers Dreamers Fighters, is set to release on November 10th through Chiquita Records. With her sixth solo studio album, the Australian teen-actress-turned-country-songstress looked back to the folk traditions of her adopted home and produced perhaps the most sincere Americana record released in recent years.
More than just a simple compilation of songs, Lovers Dreamers Fighters plays more like a collection of intertwined vignettes written as tributes to the figures that inspired Carmen’s work. Being a poet and a storyteller before anything else, Lo Carmen taps into the history of narrative-focused songwriting that is an integral aspect of American folk music traditions. As such, her lyrics are the focal point throughout the album, floating gently above the softly-strummed guitars and delicate work of the rhythm section that act as a sunbaked backdrop to Carmen’s candid anecdotes. The vocal work is the only aspect of the album that exhibits any modern influence, as Carmen’s voice drifts through the album with a gauzy, celestial lilt. Lovers Dreamers Fighters also features a heartfelt duet beside Appalachian folk music luminary Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Aptly titled “Sometimes It’s Hard,” the duet poignantly reflects on the conflicting emotions that burn in lovers’ hearts.
On the writing of the album, Lo Carmen had this to say: “In the past few years I’ve moved to the other side of the world, been a stranger, a loner, a lover, dreamer, and a fighter, and this album is reflective of all the stages I’ve been through and places I’ve been, literally and metaphorically. There’s songs on here written for George Jones, Etta James, and Leonard Cohen, told through a Nashville lens, and I guess the rest are for me and mine. I wanted to make an album of songs that dig and delve into all the mysteries of love.”
Listen to the full album below and be sure to pick it up when it gets released on vinyl and digital download on November 10th.