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photo ~ Alec Soth design ~ Sarah Hart

photo ~ Alec Soth

design ~ Sarah Hart

B.R. Lively – "Into The Blue" | Album Review

  • Music Existence
  • Naomi Sanders
  • Nov 7, 2017

Folk music doesn’t get a lot of attention this day and age, mostly due to the overshadowing nature of other genres. But is it deserved though? Diving into Into The Blue by BR Lively, not knowing what to expect is certainly a fun experience, and it did prove itself worthy to be noticed, and then some.

Firstly, the instrumentation in these songs are soft, but really nice. Nothing too out there, but nothing too safe either. This gives the album a nice calm feeling to it, especially in songs like “The Blue,” “Oh These Eyes,” “Fighters”, and “Gratitude”, just to name a few. Adding instruments like an electric guitar on “Oh These Eyes”, violins in “Fighters”, and a banjo in “Gratitude”, it adds a unique twist to this album that is a nice touch, and helps it stand out from the rest. Secondly, the vocals really know how to give the mood and feeling needed for each song. Lively’s voice has a nice Bob Dylan-esque style that adds an extra layer of the calm atmosphere, like in the tracks “Oh These Eyes,” “Lonesome,” “Minute By Minute”, and “Gratitude!”, but it can also change with some of the different styles explored within the album, for example, with “Summertime Sky” and its more jazzy style, and “The Day That I Die” with its more country feel. It also mixes well with other elements, like the female harmonies in “Oh These Eyes”, and the guitars in “Coyote”. Finally, the lyrics have this poetic element that really works in folk music, and especially in this album. Ethereal, but poignant as well, like in songs “The Day That I Die,” and “Gratitude”. They’re the main focus when it comes to the track “Minute By Minute”, and it really shows Lively’s talent for storytelling through music.

Only criticisms are firstly, in the songs “Are We In It For The Gold?,” and “Free Of,” whilst the production on the rest of the songs is really good, there’s slightly too much reverb on the vocals; it becomes jarring and noticeable that it’s all you can hear in the tracks. The other problem is in “Free Of” again, with the percussion instrument used as the back-beat – it’s an interesting choice for sure, but it really doesn’t fit in with the rest of what the song is trying to convey, and it’s one of those instruments that takes the listener out of the moment, which is sad as the other elements of that track.

Aside from those critiques, this is a standout album among the other folk albums, and one that should be listened to by everyone, no matter what genre they’re used to. It’s relaxing, poetic, and simply put, beautiful. It’ll be interesting to see where Lively goes from here, but he’s definitely delivered this one with a bang!


Dallas' BR Lively Made a Folk Album With Band of Heathens, Then Sold All of His Possessions

  • Dallas Observer
  • Nicholas Bostick
  • Nov 2, 2017

B.R. Lively says it all started with a breakup. It shook the indie folk singer-songwriter to his core, drawing him away from the security of his Austin home and out onto the road. 

Lively sold most of his worldly possessions last July, and since then he and and his dog Kato have been living in a 1990 Winnebago named Joanie. His switch in lifestyle came not long after he finished work on his first solo album, Into the Blue.

“It was all at the same time. My girlfriend left me two weeks before we went in the studio,” Lively said over the phone as he pulled out of New York. “We had everything prepped in the studio, but then I wrote a bunch of new songs," he continues. "I was at the point where I was sort of like, ‘OK, that’s it. Just go in there and do this.’”

Lively is making his way home to Dallas for a Nov. 11 at Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum, where he says he cut his teeth writing songs and playing shows as a teenager. But Lively didn't get serious about music until he moved to Athens, Georgia, to attend the University of Georgia. In 2013, after graduating with a degree in marketing and a certificate in music business, Lively moved to Austin. It was there that he met vocalist and guitarist Gordy Quist of Band of Heathens fame.

“He’s independently supporting himself and his family, and to me that’s my goal. I wanted to just pick his brain as a songwriter and somebody who has that experience of a decade and beyond doing this,” Lively said. “We really connected and got along and had the same sort of musical taste and perspective on songwriting.”

Quist expressed interest in producing Into the Blue and brought in bandmates Richard Millsap and Scott Davis. Together with Lively’s longtime musical partner, Thomas Avery, the group created a stripped-down and deeply emotional album.

Tracks such as the soul-baring title song “Into the Blue” see Lively confront his failings in an attempt to move past them, which is also what he's trying to accomplish through life on the road. He calls his new home of rubber, asphalt and the great outdoors a "sacred space."

“I believe in the power of positivity. It hasn’t been easy; it’s not just been the romantic, idyllic thing, and it’s still something I’m discovering,” Lively said. “I need to just focus on getting myself grounded and getting myself re-evaluated before I start paying everything else out and taking on larger things.”

Lively says his self-imposed exile doesn’t have a time table; it will begin and end organically. He's planning to travel to the West Coast after this tour, but right now he's focused on his homecoming shows on Nov. 11 in Dallas and Dec. 8 in Plano.

“Growing up and playing those songs and playing those shows — that was just fun. I was passionate about it; I gave it my all,” Lively said. “I’m sure I’ll play in bands and collaborate with people, but it’s bringing me back to the core of what I felt at the very beginning of when I started playing music and writing music. It was something [like] that feeling of coming home.”

photo ~ Alec Soth

photo ~ Alec Soth


photo ~ Alec Soth

photo ~ Alec Soth

B.R. Lively is a musical magician. The Texas-born singer-songwriter has perfected the recipe for stunningly soul-stomping folk gems, a feat that, as far as we're concerned, can only be accomplished by sheer magic. Taking to the road in a 1991 Winnebago, Lively has been traveling across the country, drumming up enough tunes to release his debut record, Into The Blue, earlier this month. 

  • The Music Mermaid
  • Savannah Davanzo
  • Oct 31, 2017

The album opens with "The Blue," a gorgeous folk ballad led by acoustic guitar and wailing strings. Lively's voice is lovely but resigned, confessing his own shortcomings amid growing instrumentation and breathy harmony. The song is breathtaking; it slams down on your chest for five minutes, but once it lifts upon its end and you can breathe again, you'll be grateful for its weight. Next comes "Summertime Sky," an uptempo jazzy ode to sunshine and nature. Deep horns and steady percussion merge for a sunny jam session beneath Lively's light vocals. "Oh These Eyes" is a lingering, heavy track with a minimalist vocal approach and a brooding, thundering arrangement that somehow feels like the prettiest heartbreak you wouldn't wish on anybody. On "Lonesome," melancholy instrumental vibrato buzzes before a rapid guitar rhythm comes in alongside Lively's impressive performance, singing "lonesome comes and lonesome goes / it takes me down where the cool grass grows." 

Next is the vibrant "Are We In It For The Gold," erupting immediately with swells of sharp strings, insistent percussion, and Lively's distant vocals, creating a hazy old-school track for you to shimmy and sway to. Following this is "The Day That I Die," an Americana track led by impassioned vocal versatility and booms of surprising instrumental additions, conjuring similarities to Bob Dylan's raspy storytelling. With "Minute By Minute," Lively takes it back down a notch, offering a tender ballad led by instrumental crescendos that linger then explode. Singing lyrics that reflect on the crippling power of failure, Lively's songwriting is at its most profound here: "No one knows the weight of it all / Sitting here thinking how many times can I kill myself over nothing at all?" 

"Fighters" begins with a stunning swell of strings that suggests a classical ballad for the ages before groggy vocals come in above them, growing in intensity as a gentle piano rhythm beats underneath. "Coyote" comes next, a personal favorite of Lively's to play live, a howling ode to the night that rings with jangling percussion and wild instrumentation. The second to last song on the record is "Free Of," sparse in its opening guitar arrangement, but featuring Lively's best vocals: his aching, desperate voice delivers a knots-in-the-stomach performance. It's a stand-out track, the weighty instrumentals emitting a bittersweet tone while mimicking the vocal urgency. Into The Blue ends with "Gratitude," stripped of much production, focusing on twangy rhythm lines and a folksy vocal delivery accompanied by higher harmony as the voices collide to sing an important line from the entirety of the record: "I'm thankful for the love I've received."

Into The Blue is rich with lush folk gems, each designed as mini stories you can hold in your hand and your heart. B.R. Lively has an unrivaled authenticity that pummels its way to the spotlight of each song. At its most emotional, his voice trembles. At its strongest, it is unwavering. The album is blessed by expert production that accentuates every instrumental intricacy from stunning strings to quivering plucks on a tender guitar. On Into The Blue, B.R. Lively offers songs to swoon over, ones that will break your heart and put it back together again.


The Road to Self-Knowledge: An Interview with B.R. Lively

  • The All Scene Eye
  • Taylor Ruckle
  • Sept 25, 2017

In the summer of 2016, singer-songwriter B.R. Lively took life on the road to the next level, moving into a ’91 Winnebago full-time. Since then, he’s toured across the U.S., bringing only his dog and his indie-folk tunes.

Lively’s debut solo album, Into The Blue, comes out next month, chronicling his deepening relationship with nature and the post-breakup soul-searching that led him to this new stage of life. Two singles are already available, and they showcase an expansive production to complement Lively’s stripped-down songwriting sensibilities. “The Blue” features a cinematic string quartet, while “Summertime Sky” gestures at jazz influences with its piano and horns. Lyrically, both tracks reflect Lively’s resolve to be mindful of the natural world and the moment of life he’s in.

Leading up to the October 6th release, The All Scene Eye interviewed Lively on the making of the record, as well as the journey of self-discovery that shaped it.

 

How did you know it was time to make a debut solo album?

This is the fourth record or EP that I’ve released; the first three were with different groups. I’ve always considered myself a songwriter, and I’ve found recently that songwriting is the craft that I feel most connected to. Regardless of whether I was with a band, I’d always found solace as a solo songwriter, just a man and his guitar, you know? Growing up listening to great singer-songwriters like Kris Kristofferson, Bob Dylan, and Nick Drake, and the purity of one person and one instrument. That’s always been the root of my musicianship, I feel.

So when the time came recently, I had gone on a couple of tours on my own, by circumstance. The band that I was in disbanded, not under negative terms, but just with everyone doing their own things. I’m constantly writing new material, so I just started collecting all these new songs I was writing, and naturally I gravitate more to, “ok, I’ve got all these songs, I want to make a record,” whether at that point in my life I’m with a band, or I do it on my own.

When I met Gordy Quist from [Band of] Heathens at one of his shows, I didn’t have an idea of making a solo record at all. But he started telling me, “hey, I want to start to produce,” and we started talking about the kind of records we love, and realized there was a real similarity in the the type of record we wanted to make. Something that was more folk, like warmer, earthier, like a Nick Drake or Alexi Murdoch kind of record. I showed him some of the tunes that I had written on the road, and he really dug them. So it was like, “alright, well, let’s make a record.” I told him about my friend Thomas Avery who has been my partner throughout all the projects I’ve been a part of, whether he’s composing strings or playing instruments.

But I knew that since these were songs that I had written, they were fully mine. I wanted to, for the first time, immerse myself in someone else’s practice and their approach and I felt that I identified with Gordy and his crew of people. It wasn’t like, “oh, ok, I’m going to be a solo person and make a solo record, and that’s my goal” it was like, I was already solo touring and everything organically fell into place with the crazy timing of it.

You can tell that there’s one person and their guitar at the center, but there’s also a lot of really rich arrangements. For example, one of the songs that’s available right now is “Summertime Sky,” and there’s such a wealth of elements. Can you talk more about filling out the songs?

For the record in general, we tracked me and my guitar, Scott [Davis] on bass, and Richard [Millsap] on drums. Thomas Avery was in Atlanta at the time, so he wasn’t able to be in Austin to track with us, and we ended up having to send him the tracks afterwards to overdub. He’s a full-time composer, he writes and arranges music, and he had arranged a quartet on the last record we did together. It had been a newer thing to him to arrange music for records, because he did more for TV and short films.

To be honest, when this one came along, we gave him the reins for what he wanted to do. We gave him these tracks with drums, bass, and guitar, and he was like, “alright, we’re feeling some horns.” Gordy and I gave him some notes, just some ideas, but we really wanted him to give his creative input to each song. He’s the piano player on “Summertime Sky,” and he hired these two guys who work in the studio he worked at in Atlanta to play trumpet and trombone. He’s just super talented, and he and I connect on a level that’s hard to explain, musically. Since we’re such good friends, and we’ve played in so many bands together, we know each other’s tastes, and what we’re looking for in the music. So when I bring in something I’ve written, he knows exactly how to complement it every time.

With “Summertime Sky” he sent me some takes of the horns that they overlaid on it, and we discussed. He sent another horn too, I think it was a baritone trombone, but it made it sound a little bit uneven, so we ended up going with just the trumpet and trombone. As far as arrangements and composition, he hand-writes everything out and scores it all. He did the strings, he did the horns, he played the organ and piano on some tunes, he’s just a beautiful arranger in general. He was a huge part in making these songs sound the way they sound. It totally blew Gordy and I away.

There’s more of a philosophical question here. The album focuses on returning to nature, and there’s this very poetic bio on the Facebook page about dissolving your sense of self, but how does that reconcile with making a solo album, which is typically centered on the idea of the self?

Like I said before about the timing–the events that were taking place in our personal lives were also very interesting to me. As I was going through this process before the record, I was in a super long-term relationship that ended abruptly from heartbreak and betrayal, and it totally wrecked me, threw me for a loop, turned me upside down. Not to compare myself to the level of suffering that’s in the world today, but I feel like every individual suffers on their own terms in a relative way. I had turned to drinking, and doing destructive things to fill the hole that had left me.

There was one day I realized that I’m not going to do that. I’m going to make the conscious decision to fill the hole with the things that are important to me–healthy things that will help me grow–and strip away the things that are inhibiting me from growing and moving forward through this. I was learning about the ego, and I had found how much we grow and build from our own minds, from what’s around us, from the world itself. This false sense of self is fueled by everything we’re inputting and the things that we’re told, and the things that we tell ourselves. It takes something of an epiphany, whatever you want to call it, whether it’s great love or great suffering, to step outside this ego self that is fueled by doubt, fear, and anxiety, and get to the core of the self. You look at children, and children are not worried about anything. They are who they are, and they don’t care, and you can see that purity in them. It isn’t until you start to grow and develop that you build this world around us that is our perception and our reality, but you have such a tough time looking into who we truly are, uninhibited.

As a songwriter, and as somebody who has been in bands, I had felt like, “I need to do this, because this is what I should do, this is what I’m told to do, this is the formula, this is what everyone does, you’ve gotta do this, you’ve gotta look this way, gotta have this image, gotta set things up to where it looks good.” As much as I can tell myself that I’m focusing on the song and being true to my art, there’s always this sense of like, “okay, well, why am I really doing this?.” When I started to realize that in my life there was so much that was keeping me from what I had found within myself, I needed to step away and go off and remove myself from it temporarily in order to allow myself the room to dive into that. Going on the road on my own was so helpful because I was getting out of Austin, getting out of that relationship, getting out of the things in my life that were keeping me from focusing.

I found in this new revelation within myself, I don’t know, I don’t want to sound pretentious here, but when someone makes a transformation like that, and they’re still surrounded by things that mirror their old self, it’s really tough to be completely present in that new self. I’m still learning to allow myself to be present everywhere with this new sense of self that has really been there all along, that I feel like I’ve finally gotten in touch with. It’s almost as if I finally recognized it–that I can just turn around and be like “oh, there I am.” To me, that’s why it’s been important that it’s been a solo journey, because no one else can do this for me. No one else can tell me who I am. No matter how close they are to me, no matter how much I love them, no one else can truly know. So I’m just trying to discover that for myself. I’ve found that through music, through writing, I can find that most purely. That speaks to me and that reflects how I truly feel at the core. Everyone, I feel like, goes through this process throughout our whole lives. The dying of an old self, the renewal, if you will. It’s healthy to grow and recognize there are certain things that don’t serve us anymore. We’ll shed those away and move forward.

This was something I was learning all along, and the breakup was just a catalyst that gave me the last oomph to be like “alright, you’ve got no more commitments, you’ve got nothing else, just your music, your family, your relationships, and let’s move forward.” It’s been enlightening ever since. Just liberating. Making this record, like, two weeks after getting broken up with, it was something so raw and so fresh. I’ve been going through this and realizing I’m not angry, I’m not bitter or resentful toward this person, this is how I feel, let’s be present in this, and let’s allow this to process in a healthy way. I went sober for nine months–I didn’t touch anything. I want to have a clear head. I want to process this loss and this grief, so I can make sure I come out of this not with an expectation of anything, but just for my own soul, for my own heart, to come out on the other side ready for what’s next and know that I did what I needed to do to heal.

I want to talk more about the literal journey, and the experiment of living on the road that’s been going on for over a year now. Have you always been an outdoorsy person?

I’ve always loved the outdoors. I didn’t grow up camping that much, but I always loved going outside, climbing trees and rocks, swimming rivers. It wasn’t until I moved back to Austin after Georgia that I really started going camping with some friends. I immediately fell in love with it, and I feel now that I find so much more communion in natural things than in anything else. I knew that moving into a camper would force me to be outside when I’m not in the car, regardless of the weather. There’s no chance for me to sit inside on the couch watching TV, I don’t really care about any of that. To be in touch with what’s going on and learning from it, I’ve always loved it and I feel like there’s so much I haven’t seen and experienced. For me, especially since finding this new sense of inner connectedness, it was only natural that I gravitated even more toward nature.

A lot of artists and a lot of bands try to stay focused on one place to build up a following and launch themselves to go somewhere else. Would you recommend to other people this route you’ve taken instead?

I don’t think I can say that. I don’t think this is for everybody. I think everybody has a different path, and I think you have to look at yourself from different standpoints. From an artistic standpoint and a business standpoint, what kind of goals are you trying to accomplish with what you’re doing? I’ve had this conversation with myself and other people many times. You need to build a regional following somewhere to build up a buzz, get things going, and sure, I understand. I think in many circumstances that can be the best route to take. Through my experience, and especially the experience I went through recently, I don’t know. What I’m doing and what I’ve done has been the right thing for me to do right now. Who knows how long I’ll be doing this. I told myself many times, “maybe I will find a place to settle down.” Because I want a sense of community,and that’s what I’m more wanting to find eventually. That’s what you get when you’re staying in one place, and you build a following. It’s less about a following, it’s more about the community, and the relationships that you build.

That’s a better way to put it.

I totally value that so much. That was the tricky thing–I talked to other people I knew that are on the road doing the same thing I’m doing. They say it’s great, but it’s hard to find and build a community because you aren’t rooted anywhere, you aren’t grounded. For me, this is my life, in the long term. I’m less worried about the amount of followers I can get in a short amount of time and more worried–not worried, sorry, I shouldn’t say worried–but more focused on connecting with people where I am on a soul level, in a very invaluable way.

Touring cross-country like I’m doing, or sticking in one area, I guess it depends. Is it financially feasible? Can you afford to pay the gas to go all these places or not? Sticking around one area, you’re driving less, so therefore you’re not paying much. For me, taking away the rent, the bills, and all that stuff, it helps so much to keep my expenses minimal. To allow myself more room to reach out to different people, to go different places and drive farther distances. I think right now I’m enjoying going to these places, some I’ve been multiple times, some places I’ve never been before.

I’m excited to go up to Philadelphia next month, and up to New Hope too. It’s got a really good community of musicians and writers up there that I’m excited to meet and hang out with, and I think that’s awesome. For now the opportunity that I have is to get to go and experience different communities and meet new people who have this sense of rootedness in where they live and play, and have a mutual connection between them, and something that we can keep and develop over time.

I don’t think there’s a right answer for anything. There’s no “you’ve gotta do this to do this.” In my experience, there are ways bands have been successful, and ways they haven’t. It’s all an experiment, and everyone’s trial and error, and you can’t ever tell what’s going to work. You have to find out: what are your values, where do you want to see yourself, what do you want to do, why do you want to do it, and what would make the most sense for you at that time?

For me, living in Austin, it made sense to have a band and play as many shows with that band as possible, and of course having guys in the band who all have different lives and jobs, not everyone can be on the road all the time. It’s not financially feasible. There’s all different factors that go into play to decide whether or not you want to do anything. I think it can be anything, I don’t think there’s one way more right over another.

What’s your favorite music for a long stretch of driving?

Jazz is my go-to. Ever since Georgia, being in a Jazz program and getting introduced to that whole world, it’s blown my mind. Listening to George Russell, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderly, those cats, it’s amazing to listen to what they’ve done. I gravitate to jazz when I don’t care to put anything else on, or more recently I’ve gotten into West African blues, with Ali Farka Toure. Most of the time I drive in silence, since it’s pretty meditative for me. Or I have books on tape I like to listen to.

What was the last audiobook you listened to?

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. Before that was Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. Classic. Neil Gaiman is a great writer, my partner turned me onto him, he’s great. I just downloaded a bunch more for this next trip.

What are you most looking forward to about having this record out, and what comes after that?

I’m a completely different person now than I was when I made the record, so it’s like, I’m excited to get this record out, have that moment captured, and share it. I’m excited to play these shows on the road that I have coming up, and then get back to the studio and make another one. I’ve got a bunch of new tunes that I’ve written, and I’m excited to play, so we’ll see. I’m trying to live day by day as I’m planning, obviously I have to plan for the future for the dates of where I go, but I’m enjoying where I’m at right now. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I’m excited. Nothing specifically to be honest. I just hope to continue growing and find a way that I can give back, integrate myself into doing something to better the world, and figure out how I can contribute in a greater way.

photo ~ Ryan Myers

photo ~ Ryan Myers


photo ~ Ryan Myers

photo ~ Ryan Myers

First Listen: B.R. Lively releases jazzy new single "Summertime Sky"

  • EARMILK
  • Tanis Smither
  • Sept 22, 2017

It is nice, for a change, to encounter music that is truly devoid of electronics. B.R. Lively went back to his Texas roots to record his latest album, and in his latest single "Summertime Sky",  incorporates jazzy chords, a dreamy swaying-with-the-trees feel and horns in lieu of the current indie trend of drum pads and atmospheric white noise. "Summertime Sky" will make up for the veritable lack of Jack Johnson-type, feel-good folk on the airwaves at the moment.

Of the single, B.R. relays:

It’s a celebration of being outside, of enjoying the fullness of nature in a respectful way. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of our heads and devices, but there is something about the simplicity of nature that is healing. She can be scary at times, but we’ve got each other and the storms will pass. As with everything in life, there is a natural balance and a lot we can learn if we are open.


UGA graduate B.R. Lively talks musical growth since Athens and upcoming album

  • The Red & Black (Athens, GA)
  • Anna Haas
  • Sept 9, 2017

University of Georgia graduate B.R. Lively has been involved in music since he first picked up an electric guitar at age 13 and started learning AC/DC songs while simultaneously writing his own lyrics. The following year he started learning the acoustic guitar and began playing around town. It wasn’t until Lively reached Athens that he started playing in bands.

A winding path

Lively, originally from Texas, was drawn to UGA because of its music scene and a good academic program relating to the music industry. During his undergrad, Lively majored in marketing and earned a certificate in music business – directed by David Barbe, a leading figure in the Athens music scene.

While in Athens, Lively played in several bands. His cover band Bleakers evolved into a funk blues jam band that wrote its own music and was rechristened to New Sneakers. From New Sneakers, Lively moved to a band with his friend Thomas Avery, and they made a record with David Barbe as an acoustic folk group called Night and Day.

After graduating from UGA in 2012, Lively stayed in Athens for a year playing with Night and Day. In 2013 Lively relocated back to Texas, this transition from Athens to Austin led to an Americana, roots band Northern Quarters.

Of his winding musical journey, Lively expressed.

“[It is] very long and very eclectic, but I finally feel like I found a place where it feels more like home,” Lively said.

Once back in Texas, a combination of circumstance and personal willpower led Lively to set up a tour for himself from Texas to California. Planning a road trip to visit his sisters in Denver and San Francisco during the summer of 2015, Lively decided to add in some tour dates along his route. Receiving a positive response at these shows, he began to add more and the tour built from there.

This tour was set up under the name B.R. Lively – Bryan is his first name, Lively is his grandmother’s maiden name and his grandfather’s name being R.P. Lively, B.R. has kept a familial name connection while making his own easier to pronounce. Significantly, it is also evocative of a particular spirit.

“I love the name Lively, just cause the word, the name it invokes such . . . purity with me,” said Lively.

Later in 2015, Lively toured again, but this time going east to New York again receiving a positive response to his music.

“There was something about being on the road by myself that really triggered something within me that I fell in love with, and the road turned into something that became very meditative for me,” said Lively.

Awakening in Austin

Still, Lively views his touring as an experiment. When he was in Austin, Lively decided to let go of his possessions, move into a Winnebago and without any commitments tying him down– decided to go on tour just him and his dog.

On tour, Lively is trying to make music life work, and see if it can be his full-time job. He is balancing multiple roles at once such as booking performances and planning a tour through trial and error, being his own support team and handling the technical business side of his profession. All the while gaining experience as a performer.

On tour, Lively has been playing songs off his forthcoming album “Into the Blue” which was recorded at Treefort Studios in Austin, Texas with producer Gordy Quist of Band of Heathens. Lively and Quist met at one of Quist’s acoustic shows and during a coffee meeting found that they have a similar approach to writing and perspective of music. Quist expressed an interest in producing and Lively had songs ready to record, so their work together fell into place. Quist chose to record at Treefort Studios, and this location ended up being full of character that could diffuse into the music.

“That’s what I wanted to bring to this record, just raw character because they songs come from such a raw and emotional place,” said Lively.

The studio space mirrored the rawness Lively wanted in his album which he feared a sparkly studio would diminish. Going into recording without expectations, the process unfolded organically and Lively’s focus was on being present in the moment.

“I’m trying to learn to let it be, and let it be as organic as possible,” said Lively of his creative process.

Throughout his musical career, Lively has experimented with sound going from funk to folk to jazz. Always exploring and learning, Lively has a diverse background. However, an acoustic sound is what first opened a new world to him.

“The acoustic sound to me I feel like is where it really took hold of my writing and really my creativity really came out, at first,” said Lively.

With these origins, it is fitting that Lively’s first solo album is rooted in an acoustic sound.

“[Throughout my career] I kept coming back in touch with the acoustic guitar and writing, that um it was natural for me to, you know, my first solo record to come out in a more of a songwriter-centered record. That’s where I’m feeling an emotional and soul connection,” said Lively.

The name of Lively’s album “Into the Blue” derives from multiple sources – his personal experiences, its connection to nature, and musical influences. The title is directly drawn from the chorus of "The Blue," the first track on the album. Being the first track then, as the listener enters the album, so they go "into the blue." Beyond the album’s contents, Lively said it was fitting that the album title should have the color blue in it as that color bears particular significance for him.

“’Into the Blue’ is, to me, walking into this unknown, getting rid of all my stuff, getting into a camper, going out there and just trying to just do something,” said Lively.

It represents stripping away all that is unnecessary, and keeping only what was most important which to Lively is his relationships and music. It’s about being fluid and flexible and letting go.

“Strip everything away, and go out there and do something new and something that will be unfamiliar, be insecure, and see what happens. And trust that,” said Lively.

Beyond this personal meaning and motivation, the title “Into the Blue” also reflects the importance of the color blue to Lively. Blue represents the sky and water, and its connection to nature. Even some of Lively’s favorite records incorporate the word blue like “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis and “Way to Blue” by Nick Drake.

At the moment, Lively's favorite track off his upcoming album is “Oh These Eyes.” Written the day after his girlfriend broke up with him for someone else, it is full of emotion. Yet, in this situation he still saw a hopeful side, and this song encompasses that. Lively describes the song as having a somber beginning that progresses to a releasing outro – a moment of liberation.

Lively has grown significantly as an artist since his AC/DC cover days and recording his songs on cassette tapes. However, every part of his journey has shaped his current sound.

“[Athens] will forever be a part of my growth as a musician and a person, and I’m thankful for that,” said Lively.

Lively plans to go on tour this fall off the release of his album's on Oct. 6. He was in Athens this past May and hopes to visit again on tour this November. Now, Lively is looking to the future, excited to put this record out and take the next step.

photo ~ Ryan Myers

photo ~ Ryan Myers


photo ~ Alec Soth

photo ~ Alec Soth

PREMIERE: B.R. Lively releases music video for “Into The Blue,” announces new album

  • Substream Magazine
  • Lucy Binetti
  • Aug 24, 2017

Throw Ryan Adams and Gregory Alan Isakov’s vocals with Sufjan Stevens’ instrumentation in a mixing bowl, whisk it together, and out would come indie folk artist, B.R. Lively. A self-taught singer and multi-instrumentalist, Lively has always longed for a simplified and quiet lifestyle, and last summer, he finally took the leap. Escaping the noise that surrounded him, Lively sold the majority of his belongings, purchased a 1991 Winnebago by the name of Joanie, and made his way across the country.

The new environment and unplugged life led to a journey of self discovery and allowed Lively to create music that was extremely personal. While on the road, Lively hit the studio to record his first solo album titled Into The Blue, which will be released on October 6. An 11-track album inspired by human connection and the therapeutic rush of the open road, Into The Blue was recorded at Treefort Studios with producer Gordy Quist (Band of Heathens frontman) and chronicles a journey of growth, acting as an awakening and an invitation. 

Today, we are happy to bring you the premiere of the music video for the album’s title track. In this stunning, stripped down performance of “Into The Blue,” Lively hypnotizes listeners with a sound that is effortless while bringing fans in the studio for a glimpse of how the album came to be.

Speaking about the song and video, Lively told us:

“This song is my confession. I reached a turning point after loss and heartbreak allowed a glimpse into a deeper state of consciousness, a place of complete peace. I wanted to stay, but it quickly became clear that my own selfish, indulgent habits stood in the way. This song is a way for me to confront these things in order to move past them. It is an attempt and a journey to dive into this new reality with the purest intentions.”