Americana/indie-pop singer-songwriter Erinn Peet Lukes has released her new single and video, “Country Music Breaks My Heart,” today!
Nashville-based Americana/indie-pop singer-songwriter Erinn Peet Lukes is set to release her new EP, EPL, on March 4, 2022. The EP was recorded in Nashville in March of 2021 and produced by songwriter and musician Rachel Baiman, who assembled a dream team of musicians and Grammy-winning engineer Sean Sullivan to bring out the best in the seven songs. “I knew I wanted to work with a woman as producer for this project,” Lukes said. “Rachel Baiman took my songs and different musical influences and knew exactly what to do.”
The songs were inspired by her love of two very distinct genres – the bluegrass music she’d studied and played in the past, and the pop and rock music she grew up singing. Her former tour manager once teased Lukes and said, “You can’t love Earl Scruggs and Taylor Swift at the same time!” Lukes vowed to make music for those who did, and EPL is the result, blending the genres that inspired her and coming up in the world as a fresh voice in Americana. “This EP is a celebration of all the music I’ve been a fan of my whole life, and it was recorded with musicians I’ve admired for a long time,” she says. “It’s a great way to celebrate 10 years as a professional musician.”
Each song on the EP has a different vibe. “Loneliness or Solitude” is inspired by Irish music and adds a modern twist. It features droning fiddles and a rolling banjo supported by fuzzy bass lines and huge half-time drums. “Queen” is a pop-inspired dance anthem, written for Lukes’ childhood hero, Britney Spears. The track features electronic sounds and background vocals reminiscent of Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo. The pop-rock apocalyptic anthem, “Piece of Land,” drew inspiration from Panic! At The Disco and Blink-182. Her rootsy voice and acoustic guitar tie it all together into a cohesive Nashville debut.
The first single, “Catalyst,” which was released in October 2021, was inspired by the folk-indie stylings of Phoebe Bridgers and features Lukes’ voice at the height of its abilities. “‘Catalyst’ was one of those special songs that popped right out of my head,” she said. “I had just moved to Nashville, and it seemed like every little interaction felt life-changing.” Glide Magazine, who premiered the track and accompanying video before they were released, called the song “angelic and soulful… a simple, sparse and beautiful folk soundtrack that keeps some of her bluegrass roots intact.” Skope Magazine also praised the song, writing, “[the] gorgeous new single, ‘Catalyst,’ shines.” The second single, “Country Music Breaks My Heart,” was released January 21, 2022, and the single and video premiered earlier that week at Americana UK.
Originally from the sunny shores of Redondo Beach, CA, Lukes’ musical journey has taken her through Seattle, New York City, Denver, and, finally, Nashville. When she first picked up a guitar as a teenager, pop acts like Jack Johnson, John Mayer, and Michelle Branch inspired her to put her love for writing into song form. After she got accepted to University of Washington, and in Seattle she was a regular at open mics and busking at Pike Place Market.
While studying abroad in Italy in 2010, her roommate played her a bit of Crooked Still’s song, “New Railroad,” and a new world opened up. Before hearing the progressive string band, Lukes never quite knew what genre her music fit. “I always loved writing catchy hooks and pop structured songs, but never thought about instrumentation,” she said. She went back to Seattle to finish college and became obsessed with the old-sound stylings of Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, and Alison Krauss. “I watched a documentary called ‘Down from the Mountain’ every night that winter just to hear those artists sing together,” she said.
After graduating a year early, Lukes moved to New York City and spent two years busking in subway stations and in Central Park, as well as attending her first bluegrass jams. “Going to bluegrass jams was music school for me,” she said. “The structure of bluegrass taught me music theory, and the style of guitar playing inspired me to really practice.” Over the years, her lilting vocals, vivid songwriting, bluegrass-style flatpick guitar playing, and singable hooks enchanted listeners in the US and abroad.
An old bandmate from Seattle visited her and convinced her to move to Colorado. In 2013, Lukes moved to Golden, CO, where she launched her bluegrass band, Thunder and Rain. They released Holler Out in 2014, toured Ireland in 2015, released Start Believing in 2017, toured the UK in 2019, and released their final record, Passing in the Night, in January 2020. In 2019, the band’s bluegrass rendition of Guns n’ Roses’ classic rock hit, “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” reached six million views on YouTube and gained an international fanbase for Thunder and Rain.
A vocal surgery sidelined Lukes in late 2019. She recovered and gained her full vocal range back, just in time for the world to shut down due to the pandemic in March 2020. For two months, Lukes sat alone with a healed voice and a healed heart and started to write again. “I had my voice back for the first time in months, and I was completely alone,” she said. “The only thing I wanted to do was write songs.” These songs would eventually become her EP entitled EPL. When Thunder and Rain went on indefinite hiatus during the pandemic, Lukes decided it was time to expand her musical horizons, so in January 2021, she sold everything, packed the remaining items and her rescue dog, Nellie Kane, into her car, and moved to Nashville where she recorded EPL not long after she arrived.
Lukes plans to tour in support of the EPL release. She is currently mapping out tour plans for 2022, but she already has confirmed an EP release show at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge in Nashville on March 4th. Additionally, she is set to play FloydFest in Floyd, VA in July of 2022. Please visit her website and social media for all confirmed tour dates.