A day when it finally felt like summer’s official end – muggy, light-rain and cool. The Ballard main strip, with all the changes, still offers a little vintage with new-school style. The brick street glistening from the light rain and seasons changing brought about a contemplative night. Tonight’s show took place at the Tractor Tavern – with the record release of Lydia Ramsey.
Americana can sometimes be underappreciated and forgotten within the local music scene. Fortunately, with KEXP Roadhouse and venues such as the Tractor Tavern, we are still able to bring awareness to some of the amazing Americana musicians still pushing forward in the local scene. Lydia Ramsey is singer/songwriter who mesmerizes with both her finger-picking banjo playing and her voice, which has a nostalgia quality that conveys emotions with even the softest tones. Lydia began her set with a simple introduction, then started with a light finger-picking of the banjo while singing with a soft tone – which silenced the crowd. The band comes in and fills up the space of the song which is complemented with a distinct mix of fiddle and slide guitar. If the musical talent was not enough, the lyrical wordplay was front and center for all to hear and contemplate over the empathetic moments. She told stories of death, sung stories of saying goodbye to those leaving to travel the world, yet complements these struggles with the hope of something better. Lydia Ramsey took these hard-to-process emotions and crafted them into beautiful songs that truly captivated the crowd. Lydia Ramsey decided to close the night with a little hope with the song “Things will get better.”
Americana may not always be the bombastic tracks some may strive to hear but it is the genre which is never afraid to confront those hard-to-express emotions with a sincerity which few genres can accomplish. It seems fitting, that Lydia Ramsey would perform her record release at a venue which is nostalgia in feel yet is placed where the struggles with balancing new with the old is visible right out the entryway. As Ramsey’s closing song so elegantly states — things will get better, will get better in a little while.
(Buy the new record, Flames for the Heart: Recommended tracks “Voices in the Distance” and “Dreamer”)