There’s a collective ache for live music these days. With the world slowly opening up again, we’re all still reeling from unimaginable loss and witnessing the light at the end of the tunnel growing brighter. Life’s a hammer and I’m the nail / It hit me hard, and I’ve been stuck, crows Americana singer-songwriter Paul Luc with his evocative new song “Just Sing,” premiering today.
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Some rant, some cry, laugh, or pray / A crutch to lean on everyday, I just sing, he continues, resting upon the only thing he’s ever really known.
Initially, the Pittsburgh-based artist wrote “Just Sing” as part of The Acoustic Guitar Project in 2015. The global music platform and songwriting series offers artists from all around the world a chance to write a song in one week. The initiative sends out an acoustic guitar and handheld recorder, and when these items landed on his doorstep, Luc wrote and recorded the brooding ballad in one evening─“and never touched it again,” he says.
That is, until the impending closure of one of his most beloved local venues. He then “reconnected with the song, tweaked some lyrics, and decided to properly record it,” he tells American Songwriter. COVID-19 naturally made it difficult to record and track, but Luc was able to safely venture out to The Church Recording and work with producer Dave Hidek, previous collaborator on Luc’s 2018 studio release, Bad Seed.
Luc recruited bassist Cameron Carrus (Nicki Bluhm) and guitar/steel player Laur “Little Joe” Joamets (Sturgill Simpson) to lend their talents. “They were able to track in their homes in Nashville. Strange to send something off into the darkness…but we collaborated over the phone,” he offers, “and getting tracks back was kind of like opening a present─not sure exactly what to expect. With all the worry in the world, it seemed like a timely song. Everyone needs a little crutch to get them through; mine has always been music.
“I started going to all-ages shows as a teenager, and it always felt like magic or that the world let me in on a secret. Now, performing around the country, I feel it when walking in the footsteps of other musicians,” he continues, “and when I see the history of a club in the scrawls on a greenroom wall. These are special places that create unexpected connections and real community. Of course, I want to see our venues protected so others can be inspired and experience that magic too, whether from the crowd or on the stage.”
“Just Sing” is part of a 7” bundle with a limited edition T-shirt now up for purchase on his BandCamp page. Paul Luc is also working with The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) to take up donations for an emergency fund benefiting countless independent live venues currently on the verge of closing permanently. Fans can donate here.
The accompanying visual/lyric video, created by Shawn Marazine, further celebrates the art of live performance in a truly moving way. How many songs left on a stage? How many friends have come and gone, while I was chained to a melody in a dark room in the dawn? he ponders. How many guitars have I strummed? How many lovers have I lost? I’m just a bump along the road that you quickly come across.
Listen to “Just Sing” below.
Photo by Jason Snyder