For all those sad souls out there, this one is for you.
Two young and heart-wrenching artists are going on tour. With their soulful lyrics and desperate chords playing them through each state, with lyrics that could rip even those cemented shut to shards on the floor, and with their minor progressions that make you shake until you cry, Justine Markman and Lynagh are not artists you will want to miss.
I must admit, them being so young and new to the public side of the craft, I hadn’t heard about them until recently. And because of their, I guess you could call it, infancy, in relation to other artists, with music, I’m not sure where my expectations lied. That being said, to say I was pleasantly surprised would be a vast understatement. I was incredibly impressed with the music I’ve heard.
To create some sort of musical barometer of sorts for you all to understand while reading, Justine Markman and Lynagh remind me greatly of the former, Civil Wars. There is a great skill they both share with crafting their lyrics, that you can visualize the emotion like a music video unraveling in your head, you feel the story even when there is no real plot, just ideas. Honestly, if both artists wanted to solely be lyricists or vocalists, they are both skilled enough and talented enough to do so. Although, I’m quite happy they don’t, for their music will definitely become a staple on my playlists as well as on yours.
Let’s start with Justine Markman. A current student at Berklee College of Music and frequent flyer at Vans Warped Tour, Markman is finally debuting on her own. In fact, her first EP was released today on all streaming services, “Can’t Take It.” It is the perfect song for your break up playlist or just those grey afternoons on the couch, it is soft but poignant, in vocals and in lyrics. It is simple but strong enough to carry you through the melody like a plane taking you away. “Can’t Take It” is not a must listen, but a great listen, a song you should listen to, for all of the emotional turmoil and catharsis you’ve been dreaming about through the weeks of holiday prep, studies, or toiling days at work.
Markman says, “I am HEAVILY influenced by Daughter and Nirvana. I strive to have the effortless ambient reverb of Daughter’s music with those effortless melodies. Nirvana’s music, though, has a special pocket in my little heart. Their lyrics are so perfectly meaningful, yet meaningless, vague and specific. And the way Kurt can capture a crowd just by screaming is breathtaking. But at the same time, I want to sound like neither band. I feel like finding my own sound is what drives me the most. I just want people to feel something when they listen to me. Whether they cry, laugh, or throw my record at the wall, as long as it evokes something from them.”
And it definitely has, so far. Especially with this oncoming tour, Markman and Lynagh pulling at the strings of others’ hearts throughout the Northeast, I’m sure there will be a trail of devoted souls and tears behind them. But what is so special about this tour for Markman is, “It’s my first solo tour for myself. I’ve been on tour a bunch of times with previous bands, and even played my music all summer on the Vans Warped Tour, but I finally get to play for myself, for my listeners. I couldn’t be more stoked. I cannot wait to tour with the amazing Lynagh and just let as many people connect their souls with mine as possible.” Markman’s music has definitely connected my soul with it.
Lynagh’s music has also taken my heart. Also a student at Berklee College of Music, Lynagh is currently working on her first EP, it is not yet released but my fingers are crossed for June of 2018. Although we are without an EP, we are not without original music to journey away with. Lynagh’s SoundCloud does have one track. And it just makes me curious about what other songs she has hidden up her guitar neck for the tour. “Cheap Wine,” is beautiful, slow, and incredibly simple. It is as smooth as you would want your expensive wine and as metaphorical as you would want your favorite artist or song lyrics to be. By the time the second chorus comes around, you’re tying to match Lynagh’s soulful sound, even though it’s only your first listen through.
Lynagh says, “I grew up down south, so of course I am influenced by country music. However I first discovered my love of lyrics after listening to “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. My parents exposed me to many of my musical heroes: Don Henley, Billy Joel, Carol King. I like when music is bewitching and lyrics tickle my senses. In college, I have been introduced to amazing artists including Portugal the Man, Brandy Clark, and Jason Isbell. Conceptually, my goal has always been to write more in-depth lyrics while still creating catchy songs. I want to create music that allows you to think. Every song I write can be explored by curious minds looking for extra meaning.”
“Cheap Wine,” had me thinking about every symbolic and metaphorical concept that could be related to the song, what it stood in for, what it could stand in for, how many ways does this idea apply to that concept, and everything and anything in whatever way you looked at, or listened to, this song. But most of all, I wanted to hear more. Personally, I am a sucker for metaphorical and symbolic songs. Because, I find that they are more malleable for audiences, for listeners in certain predicaments or backgrounds, symbols or known metaphors can be construed in any way the listener so chooses, to help the listener in any way they so choose. It is like an artist creating a tool, a hammer of such, and then the audience can hang a picture in their life, break down a wall, or hit themselves in the head with it, but it is their choice. It gives music more of a partnership between the two halves.
For Lynagh, there is no real patterned routine with writing music, “Every song is a unique experience. Sometimes it will take twenty minutes, sometimes a first draft will take weeks followed by rewrites for the next two months. I usually start a song with a lyric idea that includes a melody. Either that or I start with a chord progression. From there, the music and lyrics develop together. Often times I have to remove myself from how you would imagine an “inspired” writing session to be in order to map out the story arch of the song. As for inspiration, it comes from everywhere. I have learned how to always be alert to what is special around me. My Berklee teachers have taught me how to collect “song seeds” by keeping little lines in the notes of my phone and melodies in my voice memos. It’s amazing how anything around you can be a source of inspiration.”
And also for Lynagh, similar to Markman, this upcoming tour is an important milestone in their careers. Not just for the reason that it is their first solo tour, but because “I now feel ready to share what I have written,” instead of continuing to write and work as she had previously done.
Markman and Lynagh both have a special message for their existing fans and for any of their newer ones.
From Markman: “If there is one thing i can say to my listeners, be honest be sad, feel something. no one is happy all the time, my music shows that, but it’s how you make your worst moments into your best memories that define who you are.”
From Lynagh: “My music is meant to be something people can connect to. Music was always my comfort, my connection, and my escape. I hope I can help my listeners find the same.”
Don’t make your sad soul any sadder by missing The Sad Songs And All The Feels Tour when it comes near you.