Guest Column – Singing The Blues… & Twos, by True Detective’s ‘Singer’ Lera Lynn

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While Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell have schemed and plotted in an abandoned bar in the second series of True Detective, Lera Lynn has been busy singing forlornly over beautifully sot montages of industrial America. Ahead of the release of the show’s soundtrack next week (14 August) – and its finale! – the singer-songwriter has written Q a guest column about what’s behind her barroom blues – and on screen cameos.

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Lera Lynn as “The Singer” in True Dective

I learned many things the day I met T Bone Burnett. The first being what a “three martini lunch” is, then a bunch of random facts and that he’d possibly like the title track from my Lying In The Sun EP for the HBO series, True Detective Season 2. Oh, and he said he’d like to try collaborating with me in composing music for the show. I remember thinking that my life was about to change, that I’d finally be able to survive through playing and writing music, that is if we worked well together…

And we did. We worked well and quickly and naturally. We wrote and recorded four songs in our first two-day session at his home studio in Los Angeles. He passed off some partially written songs and some ideas that I carried back to my hotel and worked to finish that evening. Oh how nerve-wracking and surreal it was to play for him the completed compositions the first time, as we sat alone in his studio, but he is a gentle man and assured me that it would be good… even before hearing it.

That’s where he’s brilliant. He knows just how to choose the right person for whatever job he needs done and he knows how to get out of them the right things too. Also, he keeps Laphroaig 18 on hand.

We wrote for a character; a broken-down junkie seemingly trapped in her addiction, her heart-ache and that shitty bar: “The Black Rose”. I remember T Bone encouraging me to make it as dark as I could and I leaned heavenly on his Laphroaig to deliver those catatonic vocal performances. It was so refreshing to be involved in a creative project where the dark side was celebrated.

Usually the people doing the business in music want just the opposite, a song that Home Depot could use in their ad campaign. I had dabbled in that kind of slow-burning, intensely passionate and melancholic style of music T Bone was after, but never had I been encouraged to do so before this project.

In the beginning of the writing and recording process, I didn’t know much about the script or the role of the music, except that it was for a fixture character. I also didn’t know that I’d be part of the show until we played the first handful of songs for a pleased Nic Pizzolatto, the show’s creator, and T Bone suggested I be “The Singer”. Soon after, T Bone introduced Rosanne Cash to our writing sessions and she contributed stunning lyrics.

What a dream come true on so many levels! I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with every massive talent involved in True Detective, and especially lucky to get to share my own music with so many new listeners. Thank you, T Bone. Thank you, Nic. Thanks to every person who loves music and is willing to dig for it.
Lera Lynn @LeraLynn

For more head to Leralynn.com.