This Friday, New Orleans / New York Americana outfit Loose Cattle, fronted by two-time Tony Award & Grammy winner Michael Cerveris and Kimberly Kaye, will release their debut studio album Heavy Lifting via Low Heat Records with a special streaming performance direct from New Orleans. In anticipation of the release, today the band shared a soul-stirring single + animated video for “Filling Space” — a “melancholy waltz for when not being alone is enough,” Cerveris says. Kaye, whose heartfelt vocal both lifts and grounds the track, says “As a person on the autism spectrum, I especially appreciate this song for so perfectly capturing that THING many of us have felt, but can’t articulate without sounding ‘crazy,’ rude, or both — where you’re so lonely, remorseful, or overwhelmed you don’t have room to listen to anyone else’s story, but still desperately need to connect with someone, anyone. We’ve all had that night where we want to scream ‘Please don’t say a thing, but also please don’t go anywhere and maybe also hold me?’ This is a song that makes that sound, and feel, a little less weird.” It follows the band’s earlier haunting cover of Vic Chesnutt’s “Aunt Avis,” premiered via Glide Magazine.
Kimberly Kaye cut her teeth on the road, traveling the Warped Tour circuit as a member of a ska band before shifting her attention to roots music, with a recent detour directing and co-starring in a wildly successful revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch in New Orleans, garnering a Big Easy Award for her own performance as Yitsak. Cerveris served as a sideman for Hüsker Dü’s Bob Mould and shared stages with Pete Townshend, The Breeders, The Pixies’ Frank Black, Teenage Fanclub and beyond. He previously starred in films with Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini, and John C. Reilly, Broadway shows from The Who’s Tommy to Sweeney Todd, as well as Hedwig in NYC, LA and London’s West End, and in TV series Mindhunter, The Tick, Gotham, The Good Wife, Fringe, Treme and HBO’s upcoming The Gilded Age.
Formed in 2011 by Michael Cerveris and Kimberly Kaye, Loose Cattle sprung from the duo’s shared affection for the musical and emotional rough and tumble of Johnny Cash’s duets with June Carter Cash, crossed with X’s John Doe and Exene. Starting out by playing country covers in friends’ living rooms, Cerveris and Kaye quickly found themselves on stages from Lincoln Center to Jazz Fest & NPR’s Mountain Stage (with Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins, Ari Hest and Ben Sollee), and their previous album Seasonal Affective Disorder praised by the likes of Rolling Stone Country, No Depression, Los Angeles Times & beyond. Loose Cattle’s current lineup also includes René Coman and Doug Garrison (Iguanas and Alex Chilton band) plus Rurik Nunan (The Whisky Gentry and Cracker) on fiddle.
Recorded in the early days of 2020 with songs spanning the years, Heavy Lifting earns its title. The music found within blends guitar driven country, folk, and southern rock influenced sounds with a jolt of irreverence to address themes like the resistance and resilience of marginalized people everywhere, celebrating the common woman and man, and championing the underdogs. “We chose and wrote songs that spoke to us of the struggles we and our friends were going through trying to maintain hope and a sense of humor in the increasingly dark American landscape. We had no idea what was coming,” Cerveris says. “We’d love to think the record could inspire a little feeling of suffering being shared, and maybe even leave the listener with a hard won, clear-eyed bit of hope. Or at the very least, the knowledge that someone else sees how fucked up things are, too.” Heavy Lifting then, describes both the hard work that living requires these days, and the hope that, maybe, at last we can start to see the heavy, lifting.
Loose Cattle nods to their punky pasts and country roots while also showcasing their often-poignant punch as an alt-country band. According to Cerveris, “There’s something about having a clear-eyed, borderline cynical eye on the world while dancing a country waltz with a big old heart on your sleeve that is the place where this band lives.”