It's So Easy (When You Know What You're Doing): A Tribute to Ted Lucas ⫸ ⫸ ⫸ ⫸ ⫸ ⫸ ⫸
Perpetual Doom is proud to present It’s So Easy (When You Know What You’re Doing): A Tribute to Ted Lucas. A legendary figure in the Motor City’s psych rock scene of the 1960s, Ted Lucas released only one album under his own name—1975’s Ted Lucas, fondly remembered by fans and aficionados as “The OM Album.” For decades, the record has persisted as one of rock’s best-kept secrets. Now this mysterious collection of plaintive folk ballads and far-out instrumental numbers finds new life in a compilation by a remarkable lineup of artists, including Anna St. Louis, John Andrews & The Yawns, Julianna Barwick and William Tyler, Small Sur and Chorusing, Shannon Lay, Ryan Oxford and Jeffrey Silverstein, Amelia Courthouse, Barry Walker Jr. and Future Museums.
The two sides of Ted Lucas (1975) are famously distinct, with Side A consisting of six deceptively simple acoustic tunes and Side B including three extended (mostly) instrumental pieces. It’s So Easy keeps that track listing intact, recreating the dynamic movement of Lucas’ album while allowing each artist to recreate or revise each track according to their individual vision. From the hushed, reverent harmonies of Anna St. Louis’ take on “Plain & Sane & Simple Melody” to Future Museums’ resonant deconstruction of “Love & Peace Raga,” the result is a covers record that traverses a range of styles while remaining a singularly integrated experience. Each track conveys the honest simplicity of Lucas’ songwriting in a unique own way. Shannon Lay’s version of “Baby Where You Are” wraps the melody in a sense of snowy isolation, the minimal instrumentation emphasizing the unadorned longing of the lyrics. On their collaborative cover of “It’s So Nice to Get Stoned,” Ryan Oxford and Jeffrey Silverstein envelop this gentle ode to relaxation in layers of evocative guitar that reveal the joys of unassuming repose.
Altogether, It’s So Easy brings together a variety of artists and sounds to celebrate the eccentric creativity of Ted Lucas as a songwriter and musician. In addition, every contributor offers a brief personal reflection on their relationship to the work of this singular artist.
Release Date: May 14, 2021
Purchase Ted Lucas' original self-titled LP from Yoga Records
1. Anna St. Louis - Plain & Sane & Simple Melody
2. John Andrews & The Yawns - It’s So Easy (When You Know What You’re Doing)
3. Julianna Barwick X William Tyler - Now That I Know
4. Small Sur X Chorusing - I’ll Find A Way (To Carry It All)
5. Shannon Lay (Courtesy of Sub Pop Records) - Baby Where You Are
6. Ryan Oxford X Jeffrey Silverstein - It Is So Nice To Get Stoned
7. Amelia Courthouse - Robin’s Ride
8. Barry Walker Jr. - Sonny Boy Blues
9. Future Museums - Love & Peace Raga
Seven Mile Music
Provides music, arts, creative writing, and coding enrichment for Detroit youth through meaningful relationships between teachers students and community partners.
Detroit Sound Conservancy
A nonprofit community-based music archive documenting Detroit’s collective history through preservation, education, performance, and placekeeping.
Anna St. Louis
Anna St. Louis is a singer-songwriter who originally hails from Kansas City and currently resides in Los Angeles. She has two releases with the label Woodsist: a cassette, which was later pressed to vinyl titled "First Songs"; and a full-length LP titled, "If Only There Was a River".
"Ted Lucas' music has found its way deep into my heart. His soothing sounds and mellow vibes are something I turn to often, both for comfort and inspiration. In my cover of his song "Plain & Sane & Simple Melody", I hope to have conveyed just some of his depth and beauty."
Colin Patrick Smith
John Andrews & The Yawns
John Andrews is a musician/artist based out of seacoast New Hampshire. His band “The Yawns” have several records out on the Woodsist label. He is also a member of Woods, Cut Worms & Hand Habits.
"I came across Ted's music in 2011 and instantly felt connected to it. The songs felt honest and genuine to me. "It's So Easy" became a live staple in The Yawns' sets. I regretfully never got a proper recording of that version. The version I recorded for this compilation is instrumentally closer to Ted's version. I recorded it with an old tascam 4 track in my living room."
Louisiana-bred, Brooklyn-based recording artist Julianna Barwick crafts ethereal, largely wordless soundscapes, all of which are built around multiple loops and layers of her angelic voice.
William Tyler is a Nashville guitarist and composer. He spent years woodshedding and touring with Nashville groups like Lambchop and Silver Jews before breaking away to focus on his own version of instrumental guitar music.
"Ted's music is important to me as it is very much entwined with my friendship with Douglas Mcgowan of Yoga Records. Over ten years ago we collaborated on a vinyl re-press of the remarkable 'OM' album. Douglas and I were friends through record nerd circles and I remember him saying something like 'this album is better than any kind of hype, it transcends its obscurity in a way most albums don't.' It's kind of a full circle moment for this project as I became aware of Julianna's music around the same time as my burgeoning friendship with Douglas- and Julianna has become a trusted and valued friend since then. So what better way that we finally get to collaborate on a track together and it is a tribute to Ted ? Good intention setting for this new year!""
Small Sur is the musical alias of South Dakota-born and Baltimore-based songwriter Bob Keal and his various collaborators. For the past 15 years, the band has produced "serene minimalism that conjures large expanses of natural landscapes at their most beautiful" (NPR) through an obsessive exploration of warmth and space within reimagined folk and country song structures. To date, Keal and co. have released three full-length albums--We Live In Houses Made Of Wood (2008); Tones (2011); Labor (2013)—alongside numerous EPs and limited releases. A fourth LP is on its way sometime in 2021.
Chorusing is the solo project of North Carolina-based musician Matthew O’Connell. A former employee of Moog Music and a steady contributor to the art-folk project Elephant Micah, O’Connell’s work is as influenced by folk songwriting as it is by synthesizer design and tinkering. His debut record, Half Mirror, is due out on Western Vinyl in the spring of 2021.
"I first heard Ted Lucas's music on June 25, 2011 at the Pine Room in Nashville, Indiana. Kate Long and Joe O'Connell (Elephant Micah AKA Matt/Chorusing's older brother) performed a breathtaking version of "It Is So Nice to Get Stoned." It blew me away. I couldn't believe I'd gone my whole life to that point without hearing that song! The entire S/T album was a staple in the station wagon for the rest of that tour. To this day I am enamored with its honesty and accessibility. It is beauty unfiltered--a treasure and a touchstone that reminds me to keep my music uncluttered and unpretentious."
Shannon Lay is a musician from Redondo Beach, CA living in Los Angeles.
“Baby Where You Are” is the first song I ever heard of Ted Lucas’. I immediately fell in love with the feelings he invokes with his tunes. He has the subtle simplicity that creates timeless art. It was an absolute pleasure learning his music."
Ryan Oxford is a songwriter and producer based in Portland, OR. He releases music under his own name for Mama Bird Recording Co., collaborates extensively with the band Y La Bamba in the studio and on the road, and owns the recording studio known as The Center For Sound, Light, and Color Therapy.
"This experience was a healing collaboration over one of our favorite songs. A moment of relief during the pandemic."
Jeffrey Silverstein is a musician, writer, and teacher living in Portland, Oregon. He has been making music for over a decade.His debut full-length, You Become The Mountain, is out now via Arrowhawk Records.
Silverstein released "You Become the Mountain", his first LP for Arrowhawk Records on April 3, 2020.
"Working on this track was a continued extension of our friendship/creative partnership that started when we made my first full-length in 2019. It was a perfect way to spend a day during quarantine. "
Amelia Courthouse is the “hymnambient” alter ego of Leah Toth, filtering childhood memories of southern protestant hymns through the experimental lens of Toth's adult musical world. Her first album, "Ruby Glass", was released November 22, 2019 on the feminist record label SPINSTER.
"I came to know and love the Ted Lucas album via the reissue on Sebastian Speaks / Yoga Records, the former label founded by my friend William Tyler. My own music is very different from Ted’s, and I was challenged to figure out a way to do the song justice without attempting to copy what Ted had already done so beautifully. Finally, it hit me to create a piece that uses and references Ted’s original version of “Robins Ride,” and extract from the song’s bluesy elements the song’s subtle feelings of longing. What’s more blues than that? In the process I was happy to discover I’d created more of a meditation than a simple re-creation."
Barry Walker Jr.
Barry Walker is a musician, geologist, and teacher living in Portland, OR. Along with his solo work, his main collaborative project is Mouth Painter. He also plays pedal steel guitar with North Americans, Jeffrey Silverstein, Hearts of Oak, Roselit Bone, and others. Related to this performance, he released a cassette of ecstatic banjo music entitled "Banjo Knife" in 2012.
"I came to this album pretty late in the game, actually. I bought it when it was reissued by Yoga the second time. I think the album is wonderful in general, and I really love how Ted didn't compartmentalize his approach. I covered "Sonny Boy Blues" which is an extended guitar workout culminating in some lyrics warning the listener to stop drinking. Instead of the guitar, I chose the banjo to channel Ted's groove."
Future Museums is the moniker of producer/multi-instrumentalist Neil Lord. Working within the realms of the Berlin School of Kosmiche Musik, Lord explores the outer realms of ambient and new-age using a combination of electronic and acoustic instrumentation.
"I first heard "Baby Where You Are" on a comp in 2010 through the music blog Microphones in the Trees. It was winter in Arkansas and I had been without power or heat in my house for a week at that point, and must have listened to that song on repeat for hours. not long after, after moving to Texas, I stumbled across a copy of the album on vinyl in the used bin at a tiny rural record store for 5 dollars. considering the re-press had just happened in 2010, and this jacket had clearly lived a long life already, I like to imagine this copy was from Ted's private stash, the original 500 copies. Ted's music continues to resonate deep within my heart."