Relentlessly creative combo Trusting Lucy visits London Bridge Pub.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Initially, it was hard for Trusting Lucy’s Linda Arceo and Lisa Long to imagine joining forces to play music together. They came from two different musical worlds, after all: Arcero is a self-taught guitarist who doesn’t read music and writes with a Nancy Wilson-rock edge, while Long is formally trained in voice and piano and leans more towards jazzy, Diana Krall-style ballads.
Maybe that’s where the “trust” part comes in.
“I came from performing on rock stages and [Long] was used to being in the studio,” Arceo says on a sunny afternoon at the pair’s Monterey studio. “So, I’ve learned a lot from her. I think sonically and vocally we match. Our voices are very different, but when we harmonize, it works.”
Adds Long, “Now, [Arceo’s] got more of that silky voice coming in and now I know how to beat up my guitar pretty good.”
Any early incompatibility is a distant memory at this point – the two have been working together for the past decade. The writing process has evolved along the way. They used to come up with stuff separately and then hack out common ground, but now the creative process is a joint venture that usually begins with a glass of wine or a cocktail.
“We have a couple drinks and see how things flow,” Arceo says. “It helps to relax and let the creative process go.”
That approach has spawned three full-length albums over the years, each with a unique double identity: The albums include two CDs, one featuring the songs played by Long and Arcero acoustically, and the other with the same tunes being performed with a full band.
“Some people that hear us live as a duo,” Arceo says, “want to hear that reproduced.”
On the acoustic version of “I Can’t Seem to Quit You,” from their most recent release, Save Me From Myself, Long and Arceo’s harmonies are both savory and goosebump-inducing – their vastly different voices give the sweet ballad an additional dramatic kick. The poetry of the prose completes the package: “Hear your voice in our last goodbye.”
Like all musical collaborations, Arceo and Long are not without their occasional artistic differences, especially as musicians who had started as solo artists. But they always seem to work their problems out.
“You can’t take things personal,” Long says. “But we’ve been pretty good about it.”
After playing together for so long, they’ve learned to use each other’s contrasts to their advantage.
“When we’re recording, sometimes there are certain things that I don’t hear in a certain way that [Long] does,” Arceo says. “It could be something as little as a different beat in a shaker, but it works out because it expands the canvas of what you’re looking at.”
On a dry-erase board hanging in their small studio appears a list of about 13 songs. The rundown tentatively represents what will appear on the duo’s fourth album, which they plan to start recording this week.
One particularly impressive aspect of the group’s prolific output is its originality: None of Trusting Lucy’s albums incorporate any covers. But Long says there is the rare occasion – usually in pub settings like London Bridge, where they’ll be performing on Saturday – that they’ll bust out favorites from Fleetwood Mac to Supertramp.
Whatever they play, the results remind listeners that opposites definitely attract. In this case, the culmination is music to the ears.
TRUSTING LUCY plays 9:30pm Saturday, March 26, at London Bridge Pub, 256 Figueroa St., Wharf #2, Monterey. Free. 372-0581.