On listening to ‘Dear Walter’, the second EP from Lucy Grubb, one cannot help but be transported to the rivers and grasslands of the Norfolk Broads. She may be influenced by a traditional country and western sound but it is clear that her East Anglian roots have wrapped around her music to create a distinct English identity. There are references to Tennessee and the Mason-Dixon Line in the songs of this EP. But in its sound, there is no doubt that Grubb is firmly rooted in the UK.
The opening lines of first track ‘In Common’ draw stark comparisons with the chorus of ‘Burning Bridges’ by The Wandering Hearts. The instrumentation may be different but the vocal blend of female and male voices, to create a gently haunting sound, is incredibly similar. When the track firmly kicks in, Grubb diverts down a more countrified path than TWH, bringing in banjo and shakers. But it retains a certain folk-like quality that leads me to place Grubb under the same Americana umbrella as the Hearts.
The stripped back nature of second track ‘Storm’ means that the youthfulness of Grubb’s vocal is fully exposed. It is easy to be captivated by the beautiful simplicity of her delivery, even as her lyrics contain a perhaps surprising degree of emotional depth and darkness. There is a maturity in her storytelling that seems to surpass her actual years. One of those “old heads on young shoulders” it seems.
On hearing the opening riffs of third track ‘Not into Anyone’, my mind immediately made its way into the back catalogue of my brain and pulled out ‘Step Off’ by Kacey Musgraves. There is definitely a slower tempo to Grubb’s guitar playing when compared to Musgraves’ song, but the sound was still strikingly similar enough for me to match-make the two together in my head. This is where the similarities end though. ‘Not into Anyone’ is more a painstaking romance than a wry break-up.
The title track, which rounds off the EP, is where I think I will draw the line with comparisons with other artists. To use an analogy, if Grubb was blossoming into her own unique self through the first three tracks, then ‘Dear Walter’ is where we find her in full bloom. It is a touching ode, sung with such haunting reflection. It is a gorgeous song that completes a remarkable fifteen minutes of music from a very talented young lady. I’d recommend a listen.
Originally written for Building Our Own Nashville on 2nd November 2018.