Photography by Mickey Dobo
THE FUTURE LOOKS FINE RELEASED ON 9/10/21
"Everybody's dancing, y'all — it's about that time," Allen Thompson sings during the first minute of LadyCouch's The Future Looks Fine, setting the tone for a debut album rooted in groove, soul, and the family-like bond of 12 musicians.
A southern-rock jam band fronted by Thompson and co-founder Keshia Bailey, LadyCouch brings together a lineup of songwriters, horn players, harmony singers, and first-rate instrumentalists. The result is a larger-than-life sound inspired by the revue bands of the 1970s, bringing a contemporary approach to the timeless influence of Delaney & Bonnie, Little Feat, and Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Funky and fiercely loyal, LadyCouch's members are a community unto themselves, writing optimistic songs about the struggles and triumphs that connect us all.
"We choose to make it through hard times by being together," says Bailey, who previously cut her teeth in the throwback soul group Magnolia Sons.
"There will always be struggle. You can sit and bask in it, or you can keep moving forward. For me, the best option is bond together and sing it out. That's what this band does for me. LadyCouch heals me."
Before teaming up with Bailey, Thompson released four albums of psychedelic folk music as the frontman of Allen Thompson Band. Meanwhile, LadyCouch's other members — trombonist Diego Vasquez and the Nashville Horns, Robert Gay and Paul Thacker; recording engineer, co-producer, and bassist Gordon Persha; vocalist Olivia Burnett; former Radio Birds and Migrant Worker guitarist Mike Ford Jr.; and longtime bandmates Grayson Downs, Clint Maine, and Ray Dunham, all veterans from Allen Thompson Band — left their own marks on the city's music scene, creating music that nodded to their influences while still exploring new territory. Together, this family of musicians now make their LadyCouch debut with 2021's The Future Looks Fine, a high-spirited album recorded at Todd Snider's rehearsal space and hangout headquarters — the Purple Building — in East Nashville.
"We were planning on using the Purple Building as a place to rehearse and do pre-production," Thompson remembers. "When we arrived, we realized Todd had already outfitted the place to record his own record. JoJo Hermann from Widespread Panic had left his brand new upright piano there, too for his weekly quarantine streams. We recorded a few tracks, assuming they'd be demos, but then we listened to the recording and heard the energy present in the first and second takes, so we just kept going. With Todd's blessing, we made the rest of The Future Looks Fine in that room, after Todd finished recording First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder with the same engineer, Colin Cargile. Listening back, I think you can hear that connection between both albums. It's obvious we were all in the same place. Not just physically but musically and emotionally as well.”
Co-produced and engineered by Persha, The Future Looks Fine finds LadyCouch writing about personal matters — heartbreak, brotherhood, and friendship — as well as the modern world outside, with songs that tackle thorny issues like social struggle and crooked politics. The songs are laced with layered harmonies, entwined electric guitars, and swirling organ, driven forward by melodic hooks as big as the band's lineup. Gluing everything together is LadyCouch's clear appreciation for one another. In a town filled with musicians, they're something rare: a genuine band of brothers and sisters, choosing to rally against the setbacks of today's world by holding each other aloft.
The Future Looks Fine released on September 10 2021 via Blackbird Record Label: linktr.ee/ladycouch.
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