Song Premier: “I Broke Down in Southern Indiana” by Dylan Lancaster
I’ve known Dylan Lancaster for quite a long time, starting back when we were both lil baby freshman at Western Michigan University. And I remember very vividly a specific conversation I had with him back then; we were talking about what exactly we were supposed to do with our lives, and Dylan stated he was going to make rock music. “What if that doesn’t work out?” I wisely asked, and he just shrugged and replied, “It will.”
Flash forward seven or so years and sure enough, Dylan lives in Nashville, playing rock music in bands and recording his debut EP. The first single is like a perfect cross-section of his music and mindscape, outlining what he does so well and the places his psyche dwells. Over a chincy drum machine, Lancaster drawls and strums out an imagistic sketch of sleeplessness and heartbreak. The song builds with salvos of slide guitar and heavier rhythms into a genuinely propulsive rocker, anchored by the wonky emotional spiral of his lyrics. “I’ve been learning to love some strangers,/ bad behavior making the calls./ Drinks are cheap and talk is small/ like the way I feel after it all.” These could either be the words of an outcast outlaw or a soulful crooner, but here, it’s a bit of both.
I really appreciate the second verse, when things get self-referential: “Guitars sound thin by themselves/ so I’m trying to find a band./ Nobody wants a shaky singer/ or a guitarist who don’t think he can.” It’s an endearing and clever moment of self-effacement in what sounds like a confidently written and performed piece. It’s moments like these that make his songs stick with you.
Listen to “I Broke Down in Southern Indiana” below (featuring artwork by Lauren Cierzan), and look for Lancaster’s debut EP soon. Also, if you’re in the Nashville area, check out his Sunday night show with another band we love (and interviewed recently), Ohtis.