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Eager to trade a rooted, restless life at home for new horizons, indie-folk songwriter B.R. Lively decided to hit the road last summer…for good. Leaving town in a renovated 1991 Winnebago named Joanie, he began making his way across the country, playing shows during his nightly pit stops.
It was a new way of life — a whirlwind of blue skies, campsites, national parks, state routes, driveways, and mile markers, with different crowds every night and new landscapes flashing by the windshield at highway speed. Lively felt transfixed, transformed, inspired. He'd literally unplugged himself from his world back home, now living in a cozy, minimal house on wheels equipped with solar paneled electricity. Along the way, he finished writing songs for his first solo album, Into the Blue.
Released on October 6th, 2017, Into the Blue is a cinematic record rooted in folk music, Southern Gothic soul, and the therapeutic rush of the open road. There are sweeping string arrangements, folk anthems, Motown-inspired rhythms, Nick Drake-worthy acoustic guitars, and slow, stripped-down ballads. At the center of the mix is Lively himself: a self-taught singer and multi-instrumentalist who isn't afraid to shine a light on the lessons learned during his physical and spiritual journey.
No newcomer to the stage, Lively launched his career as a teenager in Dallas, Texas, cutting his teeth with a string of club gigs in Deep Ellum. He headed east after graduation, settling in Athens, GA, to attend college and broaden his horizons. Several years later, Into the Blue finds him returning (briefly) to central Texas, where he recorded the album's 11 songs alongside producer Gordy Quist (the frontman of Texas' own Band of Heathens), longtime friend Thomas Avery (who wrote the album's lush string arrangements), and Band of Heathens members Scott Davis and Richard Millsap. The most electric, nuanced project of his career, Into the Blue turns Lively's experiences — both at home and on the road — into what he proudly calls a "sonic journey of spirit."
"The past year and a half has been a time of immense self-discovery," says Lively, who also took songwriting inspiration from a messy breakup. "I've focused on finding a more conscious way to live in this world with awareness, integrity, and respect for other people, myself, and the Earth. Suffering can be a catalyst for change, and for me, getting my heart broken gave me the opportunity to deepen the relationship with myself and explore the openness of a renewed and transformed mind within my music and my life."
Tracks like "Oh These Eyes," "Lonesome," and "Minute by Minute" are rooted in the breakup itself, while "Summertime Sky," "Free Of," and "Are We in it For the Gold?" find Lively making perceptions about the world at large. The result is an album that's both intimately personal and widely universal. Released independently, Into the Blue marks a new chapter in a story that's still unfolding, offering up melodic plot twists, sympathetic characters, and a narrator who doubles as one of the folk scene's most promising up-and-comers.