Review: Lydia Loveless w/ Jason Hawk Harris

Lydia Loveless is touring in support of her album, Nothing’s Gonna Stand In My Way Again. And on January 31st at The State Room, nothing did. She and her band hit us with a wall of sound and a 17-song whirlwind performance of indie-rock numbers. This is Loveless’s sixth full-length album, and arguably, her finest work. 

Over the past decade Loveless has fine-tuned her sound and found her groove. New songs dominated the setlist without eclipsing her more vintage material. She started us off with a trifecta of fresh tunes with “Song About You,” “Do The Right Thing,” and “Sex and Money” before taking us back to 2016 with “Bilbao.” 

There is a timelessness to Loveless’s sound that blends multiple music styles with a raw, poetic lyricism. When they played “Out On Love,” the song triggered a neurotransmitter in my brain that transported me back, momentarily, to 1987 and  Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night. It sparked a similar vibe. Some of my other favorite songs from the evening were “Head,” “Poor Boy” and “Verlaine Shot Rimbaud.” How many artists find inspiration for a song from two 19th century French poets caught up in a toxic relationship? 

Sipping on PBR, Loveless and her band finished the mid-week performance with “Wine Lips.” I was hoping they would play “Portions For Foxes,” a 2023 duet by Loveless and Jason Hawk Harris. But, I guess I’ll have to catch another opportunity to see that tune performed live. 

Jason Hawk Harris opened the evening. The Bloodshot Records artist borrowed the bassist and drummer from Loveless’s band to bring his music to life. He started us off with the hymn-like “Jordan and the Nile,” and immediately commanded the attention of the crowd with his captivating country-roots sound. The Austin-based, and classically-trained Harris recently released his sophomore album, Thin Places, so he had plenty of well-crafted material to fill the 8-song set and still leave us wanting more.  

Harris provided plenty of honky-tonk to go along with his hard luck songs like “Shine A Light,” “Cussing at the Light,” and “I’m Alright.” He ended his set with “I’m Afraid,” a hard-driving country-rock number about an unexpected boogie-man. With just a guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums, Harris added great production value to his gospel-country sound.  

Who: Lydia Loveless with Jason Hawk Harris

Where: The State Room

When: Wednesday, January 31, 2024


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John Nelson
John Nelson
John Nelson covers the local music scene for Salt Lake magazine. He is a 20-year veteran of Uncle Sam’s Flying Circus with a lifelong addiction to American roots music, live music venues, craft beer and baseball.

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