Manchester welcomed Lucy Rose Parton back in its bosom and Backseat Mafia was there to catch her on the first night of her Autumn, U.K. dates. The venue’s Lucy’s dressing room backstage at Academy 3. We’re nervous but also excited about meeting her. She released new album “Work It Out” in July to generally favourable reviews- certainly, it was a departure from the first, Folk-influenced record, “Like I Used To.” More streamlined, keyboard-driven and, perhaps, with a few more “Pop” hooks? Since then, she’s been busy, busy touring and promoting it but we manage to steal a few moments of her time.

Backseat Mafia, “Hello, Lucy. Welcome back to Manchester. Will you be meeting up with Lake Komo, tonight?” The Manc-based band recently remixed her track “Till The End” which you can hear on the “Harder Blogger Faster” website. Lucy explains that she doesn’t know the boys personally but seems delighted with their efforts. L.R., “They’re actually on the same Label as I am. My Label (Columbia) said, “Can these guys do a remix?” So I listened to their music and I thought they were good.”

Such regard and “patronisation” of other artists is typical of the woman as demonstrated by her excitement at the support for this evening’s gig. Backseat Mafia has read that the opening act will be C Duncan. L.R.,“It’s Billie Marten actually, tonight. She is only sixteen. She did a cover of one of my songs when she was twelve and it was a really big video that came out and she’s just really, really talented and very sweet. I’m looking forward to having her on.” Billie covered “Middle Of The Bed” for her own youtube series “Ont Sofa Sessions.” Check her out and that’s an order from Lucy Rose!

Of her own work, Ms. Parton is modest but quite determined in her career trajectory. Backseat Mafia suggests that there has been a major change in her material since producing “Like I Used To” in her parents’ front room. L.R. “I didn’t really think about it at all, I just wrote songs which I liked. But I guess, you know, as an artist, I want to push myself to try to do the best music I can at that time in my life. I just didn’t want the journey to stop so I want to try to make a record that can help me continue my journey.” Rumours of Columbia’s meddling in “Work It Out” are swiftly put to bed. B.M., “Am I right in saying you resisted Record Company pressure to include co-writes on the new album?” L.R. “Yeah, I think they wanted me to do some co-writes and I tried to do one and I didn’t enjoy it so it wasn’t for me, no.” Such a big difference in album styles hasn’t gone down well with some purists but she isn’t particularly perturbed when we tell her of our plans to shout “Judas!” tonight (as, of course, Manchester was the scene of that infamous heckle in 1965 when Dylan “went electric”).

Although we know we shouldn’t, Backseat Mafia is very proud of the Northern Powerhouse and we ask if Lucy likes any bands from Manchester? We throw in one or two suggestions—. B.M., “Elbow?” L.R., “Yeah, I love Elbow!” B.M., “ Cherry Ghost?” L.R., “Cherry Ghost I love, yeah!” Finally, she decides on, “Everything Everything. We really love them!” At the risk of overstating our case, we suggest that she gives “Hinterland” by LoneLady a good listening to. L.R., “Alright, I’ll have a listen!” Taking the hint, we turn to other subjects.

Backseat Mafia notes that Lucy recently played “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young for Jo Whiley (hear it on BBC Radio i-player). We know that she was influenced by Young and Joni Mitchell but we want to know who else she might have been listening to in formative years? Bob Dylan himself? Salford’s own Ewan MacColl? L.R. “Yeah, all of them! I love them all! I think of all of those; I call them true singer-songwriters. They’re kind of those legend singer-songwriters that have got that “classic” singer-songwriting. Yeah, I was a big fan of Neil Young so it was an honour to be able to cover one of his songs.” In a sly bid to work out the future direction of her music, we inquire into who she is listening to, currently. L.R. “I like The Maccabees new record (“Marks To Prove It”). I like Lana Del Rey’s new record, actually (“Honeymoon”). Sufjan Stevens record (“Carrie And Lowell”). JUNIP. I like (Mac) Demarco. Real Estate. Lots of bands.” Make of those elements what you will but we reckon there’s some pretty exciting times ahead on Lucy’s third record.

We can’t help but ask a final question or two in regard to the wonderfully friendly atmosphere at her gigs and the D.I.Y. approach to selling merchandise (we think it’s very Punk Rock in its actual ethos, you see?). B.M., “Lucy, your live shows have a cosy/family feel to them, everybody seems to know each other, and you have home-made produce on sale. Could you tell us how that came about? It’s quite unique.” L.R. “I guess the tea was just fun (it’s not home-made) but I just enjoy tea and I just decided to sell it for a bit of fun, really, and thought it was just a bit better than a t-shirt, at the time. And, yeah, people seem to like it so I can’t go anywhere without it, now.” ”I guess people just know each other? I think people seem to have met through coming to gigs and it’s just nice.” As disappointed as we are that no “Great British Bake Off” style cakes will be on sale tonight, Backseat Mafia is consoled by the fact that, at least, it will get a nice cup of char! Undaunted, we ask our ace-in-the-hole question. B.M., “Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry?” L.R. “Mary Berry, definitely!” ‘Thought so, we would have put money on it.

And a “Mary Berry vibe”  seems to sum up our first, ever interview. Lucy Rose. What a thoroughly charming, complicated and determined woman she is. Thank God she went easy on us!

(As we turn to leave, Lucy spots the song-title “Shelter” in Backseat Mafia’s tatty, old, red notebook. We tell her that it’s our favourite off the new album. She promises to play it at the gig).

((Later on, she does exactly that)).

Catch Lucy Rose on tour:-

FRI23 OCTOBER- THE WATERFRONT, NORWICH, UK
SAT 24 OCTOBER- CENTRAL, WREXHAM, UK
SUN 25 OCTOBER – THE BRICKYARD, CARLISLE, UK
TUE 27 OCTOBER – THE LEMON TREE, ABERDEEN, UK
WED 28 OCTOBER – ÒRAN MÓR, GLASGOW, UK
THU 29 OCTOBER – BELFAST EMPIRE, BELFAST, UK
FRI 30 OCTOBER – BUTTON FACTORY, DUBLIN, IRELAND
SUN 1 NOVEMBER – LEEDS UNIVERSITY UNION, LEEDS, UK
MON 2 NOVEMBER – EXETER PHOENIX, EXETER, UK
TUE 3 NOVEMBER – CHINNERY’S, SOUTHEND, UK
SAT 7 NOVEMBER – O2 ACADEMY 2 LIVERPOOL, LIVERPOOL, UK
SUN 8 NOVEMBER – O2 ACADEMY OXFORD, OXFORD, UK
MON 9 NOVEMBER – O2 ACADEMY 2 LEICESTER, LEICESTER, UK
TUE 10 NOVEMBER – ROADMENDER, NORTHAMPTON, UK
THU 12 NOVEMBER – RIVERSIDE, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, UK
FRI 13 NOVEMBER – WARWICK ARTS CENTRE, COVENTRY, UK
SAT 14 NOVEMBER – WEDGEWOOD ROOMS, SOUTHSEA, UK
SUN 15 NOVEMBER – RESCUE ROOMS, NOTTINGHAM, UK
TUE 17 NOVEMBER – THE SUGARMILL, STOKE ON TRENT, UK
WED 18 NOVEMBER – O2 FORUM KENTISH TOWN, KENTISH TOWN, UK

Lucy’s latest album on Columbia Records:-

work_it_out

All photos by Alan Dyson, four_symbols74@yahoo.co.uk