American Roots Music Series: The Lied To's

American Roots Music Series

The Lied To's
Kenny Selcer

At the Vokes Theater
97 Boston Post Rd.  Wayland MA

Saturday, April 22nd, 2023, 8:00 pm
Doors open at 7:30 pm 

Tickets are $15 per person (online).
Two tickets for $25 (online).


Tickets also available at the door - cash only ($15 per person)

Like their first two releases, The Lied To’s third album, The Worst Kind of New (March 11), explores the challenges of relationships with the duo’s trademark grit, honesty and harmony, but this time they also dig deep into the next stage of life, examining loss, grief, memory, and the desire for love and self-acceptance. Their first single, “It’s Not Who You Love,” is out now – a spirited track that finds the pair reminding themselves, ‘It’s not who you love/it’s who loves you.’”

The Lied To’s, made up of musicians Doug Kwartler and Susan Levine, previously released their 2015 self-titled debut and 2018’s The Lesser of Two Evils, which chronicled the losing and rebuilding of relationships in the wake of divorce. The Worst Kind of New is the next step in the life cycle Kwartler and Levine both lost parents during the making of the record, which profoundly impacted their perspective. The characters in these songs are no longer lamenting about being lied to or hurt by others, but instead are looking at the lies they tell themselves and belief systems that may no longer serve them or hold true.

The album’s sonic landscape feels tastefully understated yet also deep and cinematic. The musical palette ranges from a lone vocal to full band with textured guitars, strings, synthesizers and organs. “I wanted to slightly break away from the more traditional ‘Americana’ sounds,” Kwartler says. “And also blend in an impressionistic landscape that reflects the stories in the album and the questions they ask, which are often ambiguous and mysterious.

The album opens with a resolution: In “Midnight Kiss,” Levine acknowledges her tendency to look at the negative things in her life, and her desire to cultivate gratitude. “Like anything, knowing what to do is easy, but actually doing it is harder,” Levine says. “My mother’s death was very sudden, and that kind of loss – where you don’t have the chance to say the things you want to say - is the worst kind of wake-up call. You need to appreciate what you have and tell the people in your life you love them while you can.”

Time and memory wind their way through the record as integral threads in the non-linear patchwork of grief. “Long Lonesome Road,” written by Kwartler after his father’s death, is a haunting country lament that turns the cliche ‘time heals all wounds’ on its head. Later in the album, Levine’s song, “Time,” explores the same terrain as it relates to a failed romantic relationship. The narrator claims that the best thing about time is that memories fade, all while recounting their relationship in excruciating detail.

The narrators in the rowdy country rocker “Two Days” and the contemplative ballad “Other Side of Gone” could be characters on opposite sides of the same story. The first is waiting for his partner to tell him whether she’s staying or going, and the second is struggling with whether she should stay or go, and how to move forward without letting the past drag her back.

Covers of Tom Waits’ “Long Way Home” and Blaze Foley’s “Clay Pigeons” beautifully showcase the interplay between Levine and Kwartler’s guitars and vocals.

The final song of the record, “It’s Only Love” begins with a stark, lone, fingerpicked guitar and culminates in the soaring chorus, “It’s only love/it’s only love/a song rings down from above/and then it fades into the dust/and drifts away/it’s only love.” Completing the journey of the album, it continues to ask rather than answer the question of what gets left behind when the people we love are gone.

Levine and Kwartler were award-winning solo singer-songwriters when they first met at a folk festival in 2009. After reconnecting at an open mic in 2013, Levine began recording in Kwartler’s recording studio. The two started sharing gigs and discovered that they were a match both musically and personally. Three albums and nine years later, the pair, who took their name from The Everly Brothers’ “When Will I Be Loved,” continues to share music and life. Between them, they have been finalists at the Kerrville Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, and the International Songwriting Competition, among others. Kwartler is a respected music producer who owns and runs Hollow Body Recording Studios in Chelmsford, MA. His songs have been featured on network tv shows including CSI, All My Children, The Young and the Restless and Dark Blue.

Opening act Kenny Selcer is equally at home on solo acoustic guitar as he is with a band. He has performed everywhere as a solo singer/songwriter honing his songs and solo performing on the vital New England acoustic scene. He has also led bands from duos to 6 pieces led by his mesmerizing guitar & intimate vocals. Whatever the musical situation, he paints sparkling vignettes and visions exploring life’s complexities and wonders. His latest CD is I Simplify.

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