Lay Low: Country Music, By Way Of Iceland
SCOTT SIMON, host:
I'm going to crawl out on a limb here and bet that Patsy Cline never went to Iceland. But a fresh young singer who calls herself Lay Low has been hailed as the Icelandic Patsy Cline. You can hear why.
(Soundbite of song)
LAY LOW (Singer): (Singing) I feel so low, empty, you know. The reason why my heart's in misery. I feel so bad, but darling, I'm glad, 'cause now I'm wise to all the lies you've told to me...
SIMON: Lucinda Williams has called Lay Low by far one of the best new artists I've seen in years. One of her songs is featured on "Grey's Anatomy," that Petri dish for eclectic indie pop music. It went modestly viral, and her new release, "Farewell Good Night's Sleep" is already out in Iceland, where sales have reached the gold standard there - that's 9,000 copies - in a country of 300,000 people.
Lay Low is her chosen name, performance name, if you please. Her given name -I'm not even going to try. Ms. Low, can you help us out here?
LAY LOW: Yeah, it's Lovisa...
SIMON: Uh-huh. Lovisa.
LAY LOW: ...yeah, Lovisa Elisabet Sigrunardottir.
SIMON: Well, it's very nice to meet you too.
LAY LOW: Thank you.
SIMON: She joins us from our studios in New York. And why the name Lay Low?
LAY LOW: I don't really have good answer to that. It was just by accident, really, 'cause my friend suggested it while someone was asking me if - what name to put on a poster before my first concert. And I thought, okay, I can try that for one show, but then it just got stuck. It kind of have started to care for Miss Lay Low a bit.
(Soundbite of music)
SIMON: Your music, and I say this just on the basis of listening to this current CD, "Farewell Good Night's Sleep," seems to reflect country music of a certain time period. Am I wrong?
LAY LOW: Yeah. No, you're right.
SIMON: That time period is early '60s.
LAY LOW: Yeah, '50s, '60s, I would say. It was all recorded similar to how they recorded it back in the days.
SIMON: Analog equipment as opposed to the digital that's used nowadays.
LAY LOW: Yeah, yeah. So we had all the tape machines and played it. The band played all together in one room.
SIMON: Also, I mean, if someone makes a mistake, you got to go back to the top.
LAY LOW: Yeah, or just keep the mistake. And I think that also you can hear the difference in when you're playing live with a band, than the difference in when you are recording in studio very separately. It's like the soul goes onto the tape with the music.
SIMON: Well, let's listen to another cut, if we could - "On My Own."
(Soundbite of song, "On My Own")
LAY LOW: (Singing) The sun comes up and drives away this dark and lonesome night. I'm (unintelligible), come with me. I'll still be on my own...
SIMON: So I was doing a little reading on Patsy Cline just to try and determine if in fact she'd ever been to Iceland before I asserted so confidently that she hadn't. I could find no record on that, but I found a wonderful quote from her about her singing, and I wonder if I could run that by you and get you to reflect on your own singing.
Patsy Cline said once, quote, "I just sing like I hurt inside."
LAY LOW: Sometimes for me it's more that I just sing without thinking. I think we all have somewhere inside of us some hurting that we can always touch in some way. Even though I'm singing about something that has happened to me, someone else can listen and relate to it even though it's, like, two different stories.
SIMON: I'm told you're going to play a song for us.
LAY LOW: Yes. This is a song called "Little by Little," and it's on the album.
SIMON: You have any accompanists there with you too?
LAY LOW: Yes. I've got Agnes(ph) here, who's going to sing and play with me.
SIMON: Okay. Please.
LAY LOW: Yeah, come in. She's hiding.
LAY LOW and AGNES (Singer): (Singing) Little by little, you're breaking my heart. Piece by piece, you're tearing me apart. Time and time again, I'm crying over you. More and more, trying to forget about you.
Alone and lonesome, I found my way. Oh, it's been tough but I think I'll be okay. Still, time and time again, I'm crying over you. More and more, trying to forget about you.
Day by day I'm haunted by you. I can't believe how you made me feel blue. Time and time again, I'm crying over you. More and more, trying to forget about you. More and more, trying to forget about you. More and more, I'm forgetting you.
SIMON: That was just beautiful. Thank you.
LAY LOW: Thank you.
SIMON: Lay Low's new CD, "Farewell Good Night's Sleep." She spoke to us from our studios in New York. Lay Low, thanks so much for being with us.
LAY LOW: Thank you.
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