Savannah Stopover Spotlight: Lucy Dacus

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Savannah Stopover has highlighted up-and-coming indie talent for nine years running. This year’s 100+ artist lineup includes heralded songwriter Lucy Dacus, whose sophomore album Historian was considered one of the best records of 2018.

Lucy Dacus. Photo by Elizabeth Weinberg

Lucy Dacus keeps a running spreadsheet of songs her fans have requested via Twitter, organized by tour stop. The 22-year-old singer-songwriter has certainly been getting her fair share of requests. Her sophomore album, Historian, released in 2018 on Matador Records (Spoon, Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol), was considered one of the year’s best records, with praise pouring in from NPR, Rolling Stone and countless other pop culture institutions.

Dacus tends to be grouped in the “sad girls’ club” of music, as so many female singer-songwriters who explore solitude, the creative process and the pains of romantic entanglements often are. Yes, her searing vocal timbre takes a melancholic dip as she chronicles a romantic separation in standout track “Night Shift,” but the Roanoke, Virginia, native uses fierce tenderness as her weapon of choice, offering up heart-stoppingly beautiful prose with an arrestingly evocative voice and fuzzed-out guitars.

“I don’t see my music as sad,” Dacus says. “I know it isn’t always easy, but a lot of my songs are hopeful or grateful.”

In addition to releasing Historian, Dacus formed a “supergroup,” boygenius with Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers in 2018. Each acclaimed songwriter takes turns in the foreground on the resulting EP, alternating leads and supporting each other with dreamboat harmonies and accompaniment. That record, too, was a critical favorite. 

As Dacus prepares for spring tour — including dates on tremendous stages like Primavera Sound in Barcelona — the stakes certainly look high. But for Dacus, the pressure is off.

“It’s actually really nice,” she says from her home in Roanoke. “I’ve already put out the album, and the only thing to do now is to tour — no one expects me to be writing. Right now, I can create at my own speed. I write the most when I can write on my own terms.” 

Lucy Dacus plays Savannah Stopover on March 7.