On Lucy

New Music, this Friday… Link here: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/nathanpower/lucy

Lucy inhabits a weird corner of my mind. She officially started life on April 8th, 2019 as an abstraction called ‘Empty Bar Blues’. She wasn’t a ‘blues song’ in any of the standard definitions (12 bar form, melody borrowed from the blues scale, call and response etc), but I’d just spent several weeks working with Year 5s on writing and performing blues songs and as part of that discussion we talked about how the blues can also characterise a mental state, and I had this inkling that I wanted to write a song around the experience of feeling the blues.

This coincided with an odd intersection in my personal life where a good friend was going through a break-up and I started to piece together the ideas of feeling down and coming to terms with loving someone who no longer loves you. At first it felt a little trite to borrow from a friend’s misery to create my own art, but Lucy evolved quickly beyond being a ‘break-up song’ from my friend’s perspective into a meditation on time and my general hope for either a quick painless death or the ability to live forever suspended in the now.

Anyone who has read any of my writing, or listened to any of my songs might notice that the underlying thread that ties nearly everything I create together is time. My first EP explored my fascination with seasons. The first song I wrote when I started my singer-songwriter phase in 2017 was called Springtime. Four of the five songs on my new record ‘The Hopeful Clutter’ deal with time either directly or esoterically. It should seem obvious that we all live in and around time but while some merely dabble at the edges, I’ve submerged myself so deeply at the bottom of it that I find myself sucking for air and staring up at the small circle of light that promises an elusive escape.

I remember at around age thirteen I realised that I had found the secret to make time slip by faster than it ever had before. Where once I’d spent summers in languorous idleness, bored and longing for something to do beyond re-reading the same series of five books that I borrowed from our neighbour’s home library, I now found my days were sliding past like hours and my hours like minutes and minutes like seconds. I luxuriated in the idea that I could finally move beyond boredom and begin to experience life, little realising that the ever flickering fingers of time don’t stop, and once I’d opened Pandora’s ticking clock and peered into it’s depths I’d unleash the awareness that there’s no stopping, there’s no stopping, there’s no stopping.

Lucy borrowed a little from Dylan with the line ‘a shrine to love and theft’, a little from physics with a brief ode to carbon atoms and I tied her together with a nod to insomnia, another running theme on ‘The Hopeful Clutter’. She started a lot darker than the final recorded version, went even darker still (to the point I assumed I’d be getting worried calls from family and friends when they heard her), and then I reigned her in a little. There’s a certain joy in the macabre, but art can’t all be plague and pestilence. Lucy went through a couple of gender reveals and at one point had around seven verses, cut down to two for clarities’ sake. Some of her most poetic lines got lost on the cutting floor because they simply didn’t make sense in context, but “creativity is a hairy beast, you can always make new wigs off the prunings” (G. Mccoy).

Here she is, in her entirety.


Lucy works an empty bar, hoping that he’ll show his face,

Totters home alone, another night to waste, and I’m the one she calls when she gets home.

She tries to fight the cobwebs off, with meditation,

The gloom inside of her own creation, she says she’s better off alone.


Set the table with the bones buried in the garden,

Crumbling to dirt to dust to atoms made of carbon,

No I, cant buy, any more time.


It’s been weeks then months then years of daily distress,

Sell the family home and with it all the mess, suppress the thoughts of you

We’d love to slip away in sleep towards our deaths,

Every dream comes out the same a shrine to love and theft, but still she dreams of you.


Lucy loses beauty sleep, blames it on a fear she’ll fall to freedom,

Chasing love or chasing wisdom,

No time left for the bones thrown down in anger, we wait for the answer.


Set the table with the bones buried in the garden,

Crumbling to dirt to dust to atoms made of carbon,

No I, cant buy, any more time.

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