Two years after her 2016 debut, No Burden, which won her unanimous acclaim as one of rock’s most promising new voices, Lucy Dacus releases Historian.
The album announcement comes with the release of a new song titled ‘Night Shift’ which boasts a devastatingly powerful vocal performance and scathing lyrics telling off a former lover, the only breakup song Dacus has ever written.
is a remarkably assured 10-track statement of intent that finds Dacus unafraid to take on the big questions - the life-or-death reckonings, and the ones that just feel that way. It’s a record full of bracing realisations, tearful declarations and moments of hard-won peace, expressed in lyrics that feel destined for countless yearbook quotes and first tattoos. “This is the album I needed to make,” says Dacus, who views Historian
as her definitive statement as a songwriter and musician. “Everything after this is a bonus.”
Dacus recorded the album in Nashville, re-teaming with No Burden producer Collin Pastore, and mixed by John Congleton. The sound they created, with substantial input from multi-instrumentalist and live guitarist Jacob Blizard, is far richer and fuller than the debut - an outward flowering of dynamic, living, breathing rock and roll.
She emphasises that she does not take her newfound platform as a touring musician for granted. Realising that she would have a dramatically expanded audience for her second album, she felt an urgent call to make something worthwhile.
The past year, with its electoral disasters and other assorted heartbreaks, has been a rough one for many of us, Dacus included. She found solace in crafting a thoughtful narrative arc for Historian, writing a concept album about cautious optimism in the face of adversity, with thematic links between songs that reveal themselves on repeat listens - touching on everything from systemic racism to creative burnout to the death of her grandmother. “It starts out dark and ends hopeful, but it gets darker in between; it goes to the deepest, darkest, place and then breaks,” she explains. “What I’m trying to say throughout the album is that hope survives, even in the face of the worst stuff.”