There is a dream state, where the ordinary is surpassed, like a road trip back through time, one where Billie Holliday, Janis Joplin, Gene Clark and France Gall all beam through an old car radio, and it serves as guide. That's a place where Louise Le Hir might exist.
In reality, the Colorado born singer-songwriter/guitarist has lived in the Southwest, the Midwest and Europe, from L.A. to Aix-en-Provence in southern France.
"I've lived in many places, Le Hir says. "I've been in Tucson going on eight years and I love living here."
Hir, who "bangs a mean tambourine," was drawn to music at a young age: "I've always wanted to be a singer and a performer, ever since I was a tiny human. It took the gift of maturity and the ability to self-reflect to find a confidence in my songwriting. The realization of the sound I hoped to find came once I began working with Matt Rendon of Midtown Island Studios."
Released on Tucson's own Baby Tooth Records, Le Hir's latest album is Kill Pretty. "Put your dancin' shoes on, baby," Le Hir says of album. It'll be available for sale online and at shows in January. The French-American chanteuse wrote all the songs on the record, "but Matt helps me with sound and structural nuance. I am super grateful that I was able to salvage many old songs by bringing them to Matt and reworking new life into them with his collaboration. There are a bunch of brand new babies in the mix as well."
Le Hir's dreamy country-tinged pop has a literary bent, an "almost literary introspection. I take experiences that may have been painful or distasteful (often of my own doing) and contrast them with a melody that makes me feel happy. Maybe it's a way of exorcising regrets while not bringing everyone down." It's true. The title song finds sadness-tinged lyrics juxtaposed with a major-key melody, a driving drum beat and the kind of nimble rockabilly guitar riffs that'd do old Eddie Cochran proud.
"I compose on guitar," she adds, "but I rarely play it live because I love performing and freaking out. And, I have a dream band that gives me that freedom." That dream band is the rising Annie Dolan on lead guitar, Adan Martinez-Kee on drums, Gabe Hostetler on bass and Joel Crocco on rhythm guitar and noise.
The performances are downright charged. "When I'm on stage freaking out. I am falling in love with my baby loves that are my band and the beauties I see having fun watching us. Rolling on the ground I am wondering what the lyrics I forgot were and where my [glass of] wine went!"
Here Le Hir picks her Top 5 fave novels:
1. The Idiot (1869) FyodorDostoyevsky: Death. Madness.
2. Anna Karenina (1877) Leo Tolstoy: Death. Philosophy.
3. Bleak House (1853) Charles Dickens: Death. Allegory.
4. Slaughterhouse Five (1969) Kurt Vonnegut: Death. Mutherfucker.
5. The Fool's Progress (1988) Edward Abbey: Hayduke lives! I love you Tucson.
Louise Le Hir's next show is Thursday, Jan. 19, at Tap & Bottle, 403 N. 6th Ave. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. 21+. Free.