Imagine you have just finished up recording a new album, the first in almost a decade, and you’d like people to know about it but with COVID-19, there are no venues to perform in and no chance for more than 10 people to gather together at once, for that matter. That is the conundrum facing singer/songwriter/playwright Robert Lovelace. From his farm in Brighton Plantation (where he moved in 1980 from Medfield, Massachusetts) he chatted with me about that dilemma and what’s been happening in his career lately.

We began by trading stories about recent books we’ve been reading. Mine is the Justin Cronin trilogy (“The Passage,” “The Twelve,” and “The City of Mirrors”) about a viral plague that wipes out the majority of people in the U.S., while his choice was “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. Both feature a post-apocalyptic scenario and we agreed that considering the current condition of the world, better choices of reading material could’ve been made.

Lovelace: I was like, “Well, I guess I’m glad I read that, I might pick up a few little things that will help!” But aren’t you glad you don’t live in New York City, though!

Q: You got that right, man! It’s a crazy, scary world out there nowadays, but let’s get down to the music end of things here …
Lovelace: Yes, sir!

Q: The seven songs you sent me as MP3s I really enjoyed. The ones that impacted me the most were “Seven Storms,” “I Built Me A Barn,” “Roll On,” and “Gabriel” is very touching, to say the least.
Lovelace: I certainly concur. I mean, they come from my heart, that’s for sure.

Q: And that’s probably the reason behind the authenticity one hears on the songs that you create. Just out of curiosity, where did you record this album?
Lovelace: I did it at Cavern Studios in Waterville, which is Floyd White. He’s been there forever.  In fact, the very first CD I ever did, around 35 years ago or something, I did with Floyd. He’s kind of our contemporary and he’s been around the music scene forever in central Maine. We spent a couple of days together and it was amazing, he’s a great guy. I thought it had a pretty darn good quality to the sound on the CD, I liked it fine, and for just walking in and sitting down and playing, I thought it came out pretty good, yeah.

Q: There’s an inherent warmth present on these tracks and a spontaneity that usually comes from a live recording, is that the case here?
Lovelace: Totally. He likes to separate the tracks and all that, and I said, ”Floyd, I just want to come in, sit down, and sing these songs,” so that’s all I did. I went in, closed the door and he set up a mic. They’re all one track and they’re all one take. I just went in, sat down and played them.

Q: Now lately I’ve been talking with some other folks who’ve been doing stuff at home and putting it out on the internet, Facebook and things like that. Is that something you would consider doing?
Lovelace: I would, but I’m not particularly good tech-wise, and I don’t have a smartphone. I’m glad that people are doing that. That Quarantine Karaoke is really fun, you know? You see little performances that you say, “There you go, you wouldn’t have seen that one if you’d paid $80 and gone to a big concert hall!” It’s a little different but take what you can, I guess. So, yeah, I’ve thought about it a little bit because it’s a funny time to have a CD come out and then be like, “Yeah, okay—the whole world just went on ‘Pause’!” But obviously everybody else’s life did, too, so it’s kind of a funny place to be it.

Q: Yeah, I can understand that. Now you say the songs you write come from your heart, so I wonder, do they take a while to come together or do they come full-form?

Lovelace: Well, I would say they certainly take some time, but not ever a long period of time. With these new ones, it was just sort of an intense period of where they all just flooded out of me in a couple of weeks. Fortunately I had the time and space and I was relentless with them. It was like, “Alright, I’ve got a line here and I’ve got a chord and I need to build on that.” So I just kept working at them and working at them, but in general, the whole thing was maybe three weeks to get all of those into their form. And I hadn’t written anything in a long time so once it started it was, yeah, like a floodgate and they just needed to all come out.

Q: Now how many albums have you put together so far?
Lovelace: That’s my seventh one. The “Seven Storms” is my seventh CD, so I’ve written and produced six CDs, three musicals and a straight play over my career, which kept me busy for a long time. And then I just kind of put it down for a while to pay attention to some other things. I started playing covers in restaurants and bars for the last 10 years, and it works fine, but there’s something that is lacking in that for me that I just always have felt the need to create new things.

Q: Your earlier albums that I can remember seemed to incorporate backing bands. On this one, it is simply guitar and voice, very basic but also powerful. I didn’t think you needed a band for it at all.
Lovelace: Well, I appreciate that. Yeah, and the thing is that if I brought a band in I would be rethinking everything. It was kind of fun just to do it on my own like that. Every other CD I’ve ever done was with a band, so this just eliminated an entire thought process where I said, “No, Bob, you’ve just got to in there and play some songs!”

Q: Will this album be available on CD Baby or something like that?
Lovelace: I’m working on getting it up on Spotify right now. Again, it’s not my forte, but one of my albums is on Spotify. My “Hold On Tight” CD, which was on CD Baby but then Spotify bought out CD Baby and “Hold On Tight” went with the sale. So I’d like to get this new one on there because that’s the easy way for people to hear it. Right now I’m still mailing CDs to people. We are working to have this on Spotify soon, but it is not on yet. If I don’t get that done, I will have an alternative.

Lucky Clark has spent over 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

filed under: