Q&A with New Orleans-based singer songwriter Lynn Drury, "NOLAmericana", sultry, sweet songs turn funky

"Because music brings people together from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds, it holds the power of understanding and also compassion for one another.  I think compassion is important today, it erases the divisiveness that's permeating our world."

Lynn Drury: Greetings from New Orleans

Celebrated New Orleans-based singer songwriter Lynn Drury is poised to release her 10th album of original songs, High Tide, on April 5, 2024 by Nolamericana music. Produced by Papa Mali (Ruthie Foster), the album was recorded over three days last year at Dockside Studio in Maurice, Louisiana and features 11 new songs. High Tide’s tunes, in Drury’s inimitable fashion, run the gamut from plaintive to soul-searching and sexy and some thunderous Rock and Roll too. Recorded mostly live at Dockside Studio by Justin Tocket, the band is a who’s who of New Orleans luminaries. For more than two decades Lynn Drury has honed her singing and songwriting skills in New Orleans. Steeped in Mississippi country and rooted in the groove, Lynn’s self-penned style “NOLAmericana” is New Orleans Americana, created in a town that moves to its own groove. Captivating, edgy and sweet, her distinct voice and melodies get in your head and under your skin - sultry, hot and funky, they stick to you and with you like a long night out on the town. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in her catchy tunes.

(Lynn Drury / Photo by Kaitlin Hanrahan)

Lynn Drury has been performing, in one arena or another, her entire life. At the ripe old age of five she won a 4-H state competition in Mississippi in pole bending. If you don’t know what pole bending is, it’s a little like barrel racing, Lynn says. That’s horse talk. In a word, rodeos. Once you know that much about Lynn, you understand her approach. She picked up the guitar at 26, went at it like a pro, and she’s never stopped working. Her inspiration is her environment and since the late nineties, that environment has been New Orleans. The transition for the Yazoo City-born Drury was smooth. She says jasmine smells like honeysuckle, and you believe her. Sultry, sweet songs turn funky, and it’s all in the same neighborhood.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Well, music is universal - where words fail, music begins. It renews my faith in humanity. A song has the power to heal and bring folks together from different walks of life, and that brings us all to a higher level of consciousness! Now, more than ever we need the healing that music can bring.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

I get inspired by art, human interaction and nature, to name a few. My sound is a mixture of southern roots and blues and country with some laissez-faire New Orleans groove thrown in. I'm driven by my passion to communicate through music and my love of performing.

Why do you think that NOLA music continues to generate such a devoted following? 

We do "what we wanna" down here "on a corna" haha! (to quote Rebirth Brass Band) and I think the music here is a microcosm of the world, you can find just about everything here. New Orleans folks are open-minded, in my humble opinion, and the music is always evolving with new sounds mixed with the old, and that's in part because of the big revolving door of musicians who come here.

"Because there exists here a level of tolerance.  In that, you can dream up whatever your heart desires and pursue it and there are folks here who will cheer you on!  We are a city of wild characters, misfits, dreamers and disruptors, and I think, as some have called it "the last bohemia." Why are people still coming to a city that is sinking?? If you know you know.  And I have yielded and proclaim that "I'm going down with this ship" that is New Orleans. Please send us some sand. ha!' (Lynn Drury’s NOLAmericana has honed her singing and songwriting skills in New Orleans / Photo by Kaitlin Hanrahan)

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I don't really miss anything, except maybe a cover charge. haha! Maybe because we have music on demand nowadays, it had cheapened it in some way.  We don't have the same respect for it that we did when we had to go to the store to purchase, unwrap the album, and then experience a feeling when the needle hits the groove. My hope is that live performance will continue to make a comeback and artists will band together and demand a fair wage. Part of what makes it fulfilling for me as an artist and a fan is the community that we create. There is power in finding your own tribe. I would be nothing without the support of my tribe!

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications?  How do you want it to affect people?

Because music brings people together from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds, it holds the power of understanding and also compassion for one another. I think compassion is important today, it erases the divisiveness that's permeating our world.

What does to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

I think we're doing pretty good! I have always held the belief that if you believe you are less than, then you are. I know there exists discrimination in this business, but I have chosen to rise above it. My advice to other women is to go where you are loved and appreciated and don't let the bastards wear you down.

John Coltrane said "My music is the spiritual expression of what I am...". How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life?

Exactly right, when you are driven to create something, you embody it and you become it. My music is an extension of my spirit and my love that I'm called to share to the world. A career in music is not for the faint of heart.

"I get inspired by art, human interaction and nature, to name a few. My sound is a mixture of southern roots and blues and country with some laissez-faire New Orleans groove thrown in. I'm driven by my passion to communicate through music and my love of performing."

(Lynn Drury / Photo by Kaitlin Hanrahan)

A meeting point for musicians, New Orleans is ahead of its time as it embraces. Why this city was/is a Mecca of avant-garde people and artists?

Because there exists here a level of tolerance.  In that, you can dream up whatever your heart desires and pursue it and there are folks here who will cheer you on!  We are a city of wild characters, misfits, dreamers and disruptors, and I think, as some have called it "the last bohemia." Why are people still coming to a city that is sinking?? If you know you know.  And I have yielded and proclaim that "I'm going down with this ship" that is New Orleans. Please send us some sand. ha!

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