The debut album “Seventh Cycle Soul,” by Lucy Lowis – a 16 year old singer-songwriter from Kalamazoo, Michigan – is confident effort, elevating her palette through something that can best be described as an enlightening and reflective purge. Lyrically and emotionally, it’s a scrapbook of her thoughts and experiences in her growing years, funneled through 13 essential tracks that all find her on a steady musical footing. The tracks are driven by resonating voice, as well her execution of the guitar, ukulele, piano parts, along with a bass player and drummer where needed.
What’s so brilliant about “Seventh Cycle Soul,” is that it isn’t a cheap and coy attempt at trying to carelessly sell a precocious talent to today’s fickle music world. Though it could so easily have been, considering that Lowis began playing music as early as five years old, growing up in a musical family. Her father Ted Lowis is a veteran musician, who also happened to have recorded and produced the Lowis’ debut album, which probably helped in Lucy sticking to a tasteful musical script.
“Seventh Cycle Soul” isn’t Lucy Lowis proverbially throwing her innate talent up in the air, and writing what the masses want to hear. It doesn’t compromise, but instead it takes some of her strongest songs, emboldens her vocals, adds in some fantastic organic arrangements, and finds a production style that offers a unpolluted, natural and delightful look into what makes Lucy Lowis such a compelling singer-songwriter.
From when the album opens with the exhilarating “Smile,” the album really showcases the strength, vitality and power of Lucy Lowis’ voice, and instrumental prowess throughout – unvarnished and without interruption.
“You and Me” infuses Lucy’s poetic sensibilities with a gently strummed guitar part, slowly building to a rich melodic release at the choruses and a cathartic finale. It catalogues the blossoming of relationship and the inevitable emotional intricacies, but with a maturity and thoughtfulness that is surprising. “Safe Haven” is the album’s centerpiece and available as a single release. It has a more fleshed out arrangement and a lushly layered production.
The song “Safe Haven” was selected as the theme for the Southwest Michigan OutCenter 2019 celebration, “Out for the Holidays.” The subsequent track, “Sun,” also showcases a more radio-friendly production, which adds weight to the song, but doesn’t lose the innocence and story-telling lilt of the piece. The dynamic “Heart of Stone,” is another standout. Lucy Lowis’ voice shines throughout, as she runs it through multiple timbres, before switching to the upbeat pace of “Today”.
There’s a clear comfort in these studio tracks, as Lucy Lowis, steps into the magnitude of her own talents track after track. From “Sunshine Girl” to “In the Rain,” and “Pretty Crier” to “Melody Falls,” she creates varying melodies and emotions, and displays all the technicalities and nuances of her voice, like falsetto, melisma, and vibrato, all which come easily to Lucy. The beauty of folk related music is that the genre is mostly lyrically relatable, which makes these songs all the more powerful.
Moving forward, we encounter the tail-end of the album, which features, the sprawling and acoustically strummed “Waiting,” “11:42” and “Tip of my Tongue”, which continue to show what a great songwriter she is. One thing is for sure. When Lucy Lowis sings, you listen. There’s something about her vocal approach that evokes comparisons to absolutely no one. She has a style all her own, and it shows in each track on this album.