Lucy Rose at Sub89By Linda Serck
May 17, 2012
Lucy Rose is all about tea, jam and... nuclear bomb shelters.
The first two you can expect to purchase on the acoustic singer’s merch stand when she comes to play at Sub89 in Reading on Tuesday.
The last is a place where she is busy recording her debut album.
In fact, the bomb shelter is underneath her parents’ home in Warwickshire to be precise, though Lucy is quick to add that this unique feature was built by the previous owners – not her mum and dad.
Nevertheless, the acoustics of the subterranean hide out is ‘good for the guitars’, while the ‘family room’ is the setting for recording her vocals, and the village hall was chosen to host the drums.
The bomb shelter is also where she’s recorded all her friends who want to be part of the album, singing group vocals or playing.
One friend in particular is returning a favour. Jack Steadman, of Bombay Bicycle Club, ‘popped down on the train to help out’, following her stint recording backing vocals for his band at the start of her career.
“Our voices seem to work so well together and he’s been so supportive of my music,” she says, speaking from her parents’ home.
The whole recording process she describes as ‘one of the best experiences of my life’.
“I hate recording normally,” she tells me down the phone.
“It feels tedious, but being here has been amazing, it’s been really refreshing.
“I didn’t want to make something that was in a big, expensive studio, where you can hear the glossiness and perfection of things.
“I wanted it to be full of character – that’s really important to me, a lot of my favourite music is like that, the odd mistakes here and there.”
Music-wise, Lucy Rose reflects the sweetness of her name, with a golden voice, yet there is a projection of delicate grit.
Her third single, Red Face, has a rousing feminine confrontation, while other tracks, such as Middle Of The Bed and Scar, are more spartan and reflective.
Certainly, there is a pastoral Englishness about her songs, which at her live shows comes coupled with two quintessentially English things; tea and jam.
Not quite handing them out for free as it states on her Wikipedia page, gig-goers are able to purchase said tea and jam from her merch stand.
The jam comes from a friend who runs the charity Rubies in the Rubble, where she makes jam and chutney from waste food and raises money to help vulnerable women in the UK.
“I do have my own blend of tea – the Lucy Rose tea – from a long time ago,” she exclaims.
“I had no merch to sell at gigs and I always make tea in a pot with one Earl Grey and one ordinary teabag.
“My manager wanted me to get some merch so we went down to this tea company and made this blend. I’ve been selling it for over a year now.”
Lucy Rose plays at Sub89, Friar Street, Reading, on Tuesday. Tickets £8, doors 7.30pm. Find out more at www.lucyrosemusic.com
Listen to Linda Serck on BBC Radio Berkshire every Sunday at 7pm. Email your music news to email@example.com