PARK CITY, UTAH – JANUARY 27: Lola Kirke of ‘Lost Girls’ attends the IMDb studio at Acura Festival Village on location at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival – Day 4 on January 27, 2020 in Park City, Utah.
Photo: Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb, Stringer/Getty Images for IMDb
Lola Kirke’s acting credits go back over a decade, but the music has always been there too. His father, Simon Kirke, is a drummer who played in Free and Bad Company. His sister, Domino, has a band. And the “Mozart in the Jungle” star has been releasing music herself for several years, with an EP, an LP and a few singles to her name. But she’s looking to take a bigger step with “Lady for Sale.” The album’s 10 songs are intricately assembled – confessional yet opaque – and elegantly arranged in an album about the wobbly legs of a potentially problematic new love.
The album caught the attention of Third Man Records, based in Nashville and launched by Jack White, who will release it in late April. Kirke and the producer found an interesting groove for the singer-songwriter, lending his songs country, country underpinnings with enough room for a danceable beat every now and then. Kirke, who plays Warehouse Live on February 18, presents the new songs on tour with Elle King.
Q: I keep coming back to the song “Pink Sky”, with the “no rush, no rush”. It felt like a fulcrum for the record: I felt like there was a narrative thread throughout and it reached out to time and the ways we connect.
A: I appreciate that comment. I hadn’t thought of the song as a point of support, as you say. But I can definitely see it now. The record, in many ways, is about falling in love with someone you’re not supposed to fall in love with. And explode your life to be with that person. And then how romantic, realistic, and unromantic it can be. I think “Pink Sky” is about that non-romantic part. Love is still love, but it can be disappointing and scary. Life will remain life. This song reminds me of the end of “The Graduate”. You are both on the bus. (Laughs.) What now?
Q: Some of the tone on the record reminds me of Juice Newton’s work. I like that it’s comfortable to find a space between pop and country.
A: I’m glad it dropped. Juice Newton was often brought up when we were talking about references for the record. There was a lot of that, “Is that country or isn’t it?” And a lot of time with (producer/guitarist) Austin Jenkins before recording. Many of them were written as sad, eerie ballads. And he’s so brilliant. He told me that there are a million ways to do this or that song. It was almost intimidating to hear what he had come up with. But he saw the best in me. At my best, I’m a fun, warm, irreverent, sometimes drunk person. I spent a lot of time trying to cut that heat. I think hot, as far as our culture is concerned, is the opposite of cool. And I wanted to be cool. But he encouraged me to embrace those other parts of my personality and put them into the music. I’m so thankful for that. So Pam Tillis was a big inspiration, “Maybe it was Memphis.” That weird song, “Nobody.” . . Who was it?
Q: Sylvia? I was just watching her the other day.
When: 8 p.m. February 18
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A: Sylvia! It’s such a weird little song. Dan Fogelberg. His music has been called cheesy, but I don’t know. I think he’s the hippest. We thought about the Tanya Tucker/Glen Campbell duos, how they captured the rawness of her voice. I really love this kind of country.
Q: People have always complained about country pop, including these artists. But this record seems much more aligned with them than with what we call country today.
A: Now, I think country has a lot of purely pop or hip-hop features, and a lot of rock comes into it. But there are still people who think about it regionally. Austin is from Texas. Players always identified where they came from. Someone would say, “I’m a guy from Houston.” But it was interesting for me to know all these people who were not from the Northeast. What they heard on the radio growing up was so different from what I heard. In New York we had Chris Gaines but not Garth Brooks. We have the hits of Shania and Faith Hill. But it’s only been in the past two years since moving to Nashville that I’ve discovered what my friends have been listening to since they were kids. And I appreciated that. I love this music so much.