I’ve been really good. Been busy and getting busier. But I like that. Feels good being productive.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single, “Restless Heart”?
“Restless Heart” is a fun up-tempo tune that came together fairly easily. I wrote it with my friend Tom Mackell, who had come to the session that day with a pretty great idea: “I got a reckless mind and a restless heart.” It caused me to recall that period in my young adult life where I was constantly falling in and out of love relationships, shamelessly mining them for lyrics to songs. It’s all super pathetic in hindsight but made for a cool, rockin’ little number.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
There’s a line in the song wherein I quote my lover as having said, “I don’t take it personally/just know what’s worth keeping/set the rest of us free,” which was actually based off of a conversation I had with my now-wife of 11 years. We were sort of on-again-off-again at the onset, and she simply called me out on being ridiculous and wishy-washy. It was the hottest thing a girl had ever said to me.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
For the video of “Restless Heart,” we decided to go more content than concept. After my prior video for the lead-off single, “Everything’s Changing,” where we traipsed around Nashville with an old upright piano, filming me performing the song in numerous locations, we decided to stay put for this one, simply having me perform the song live in a downtown loft space called Cotton Mill Live. It’s always cool to take a fully fleshed-out song and strip it back down to its bare bones essence.
The single comes off your new album Ain’t No Storm – what’s the story behind the title?
“Ain’t No Storm” is an excerpt from the lyric of the album closer, “Other Side of the Clouds.” The complete line is “…but ain’t no storm gonna last forever.” I like how extracting it leaves it a bit more open to interpretation, kind of warrants an explanation or at least piques one’s curiosity. It also made for some pretty fantastic cover art. The album artwork is a custom painting by Virginia-based artist, Joelle Cathleen. We’re both pretty big fans of each other, and this was the perfect way for us to collaborate.
How was the recording and writing process?
Writing for this record took place over the course of what I would call a self-imposed “time-out” from making records. I realized that I could be as prolific as I wanted to be, but it doesn’t add up to much if the songs aren’t there. I spent a couple years really diving into the Nashville writing community, learning what it is that makes good songs good songs. As they began to pile up, I was able to set aside the ones that really spoke to me, that resonated with my experience and narrative. Those were the ones we took into the studio.
What was it like to work with Ken Coomer and how did that relationship develop?
Ken is one of the easiest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. It’s hard to even call it work, really. He’s super light-hearted and genuine. He likes to keep things moving, as do I, so we never got bogged down at any point in the process. And really, it all sprang from just a few short sit-downs together. We talked direction, work ethics, production style, I played him some songs, we traded a few emails, and then we were tracking.
How much did he get to influence the album?
I’ve never worked less on a record before. By that, I mean we did very little if any comping or editing, re-recording, none of that. We just let the songs set the bar and tried to not get in the way. Knowing that, left to my own devices, I might try to overproduce, or at the very least overthink things. There was none of that with Ken. And without any friction either. I welcomed the opportunity to let the buck stop with someone else for a change.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?
What role does Nashville play in your music?
I think this record is a very “Nashville” record. It’s a storyteller’s record. It’s a musician’s record. A writer’s record. Those three things are, in my opinion, the essence of what makes Nashville so influential.
What aspect of Americana did you get to explore on this record?
I would say there was a concerted effort to simplify things a bit with this record. I find that to be the one thing I admire most about my favorite Americana artists: the ability to say so much more with so much less. On “Room with a View,” we literally all just set up in a circle in the same room, set up some mics, and played the song together a few times. And by few, I mean maybe two and a half times. I remember us all listening back to Patrick (Sweaney)’s guitar solo and him wanting to redo it, which would mean us all having to redo ALL of it. We all eventually agreed that the charm of the original pass was unbeatable. We kept it.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I had initially set out to make a bit of a concept album with this record, something entirely nostalgic and retrospective. Something about turning 40 caused me to begin looking back with a newfound sense of appreciation for all the ground I’ve managed to cover. Like old Polaroid pictures, or those classic historic photos in restaurants that show you what the exterior of the establishment looked like decades ago. All that stuff started to appeal to me, and I suppose it started to make its way into my songs. Interestingly enough, there were a couple songs that fit this description that ultimately didn’t wind up on the record.
Any plans to hit the road?
I’m sort of always on the road these days. Part of my moving to Nashville was convincing my wife that I could tour more effectively out of Nashville, playing more dates but heading out for shorter runs at a time. I used to go out for weeks and months each tour, but now I keep it to a few long weekends a month with the occasional week or two in the spring and fall. Being more of a full-time songwriter, husband, and father these days, I prefer to not be away from town for too long if I can help it.
What else is happening next in Tony Lucca’s world?
I’ve been exploring the world of public/motivational speaking, actually. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to various colleges and high schools, giving guest lectures, workshops, and key note addresses, trying to inspire and motivate young emerging career professionals in the music and entertainment field. It’s honestly one of the single most rewarding things I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing. My hope is that it continues to pan out and become a larger part of my professional footprint.