Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.
Asheville songstress Jane Kramer and Glasgow songwriter Andy Lucas in May 2017 working out the recording of their duet, “Valentine,” written by Lucas./ photo by Jason Sandford
Asheville songstressJane Kramer and Scottish songwriter Andy Lucas have collaborated on a heartrending tune they’ve released just in time for Valentine’s Day. Lucas’ “Valentine,” first recorded on his 2017 album Burying Bones, captures a bittersweet conversation between aging lovers, but the real life story of how these two musicians ended up working together is a little more light-hearted.
The two first connected online back in 2014 when Lucas heard Kramer’s song “Red Balloon” on his car radio via BBC Scotland while driving home from a gig. The pianist and vocalist emailed Kramer to introduce himself as a fellow musician and express the connection he felt to her song. A friendly correspondence ensued and Lucas shared his song “Valentine” with Kramer, saying he had always imagined the tune as a duet and thought it would sound lovely with the two singing it together. Kramer was immediately drawn to the song and the two agreed that they should record it together if they ever found themselves in the same city.
In the spring of 2017, Kramer toured Scotland in support of her second album, Carnival of Hopes. She reached out to Lucas about the possibility of performing and recording together in Glasgow. Lucas was set to release his own sophomore album, Burying Bones, and asked Kramer to be on the bill supporting his album release show at Glasgow’s popular Glad Cafe.
The two finally met in person on the day of the show for a brief rehearsal that confirmed their suspected musical chemistry.
“It felt like we had been singing together for a long time,” said Kramer.
After their duet performance of “Valentine” that evening that elicited tears from the crowd, they made the on-the-spot decision to record it two days later at Green Door Studio in the artsy hub of Glasgow’s West End neighborhood.
“Valentine,” one of 11 original tracks on Lucas’ highly-praised 2017 sophomore release, captures both an aching nostalgia for the the vibrance of a brand new relationship and the sweet reminiscences of a shared love and life together. Lucas and Kramer deliver a haunting, live-take analog rendition of this duet backed just by Lucas’ elegant and tender piano.
“For me, it was very special to hear the song come together in this way. Jane’s vocals transformed it from the album version into something much more poignant and heartfelt,” Lucas adds.
Jane Kramer/ photo by Matt Daniels
The wistful starkness of the recording is contrasted beautifully by the robust and vulnerable depth of Lucas’ vocals and the lush, breathy texture of Kramer’s, as well as by the emotive tension in their harmonies. The result is a moving statement about love, commitment and memory.
Lucas and Kramer also teamed up for a music video to accompany the track. The footage of Lucas was shot and edited by Macdonald Studio Films, while footage of Kramer was shot and edited by Matt Daniels of Arrow Sound Studios.
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