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Lomelda navigates growing up and leaving home on her debut album, Thx

Lomelda
Photograph: Courtesy Laura Lee Blackburn

As her 2017 full-length record started coming together, Hannah Read felt grateful. When the 26-year-old, who performs as Lomelda, shared the sketches of songs with family and friends, she put the rough demos of her emotive folk tunes on Bandcamp and titled the collection Thx. The album evolved, but the name stuck.

Released in September via Double Double Whammy (a label that’s pressed records by folky standouts Florist, Told Slant, Frankie Cosmos and more), Thx captures Read’s reflections on growing up, leaving town and the spaces in-between. Her spacious songs play out like snapshots tucked inside handwritten letters to old friends, little moments in the cracks separating the places we leave and where we later find ourselves.

“If it means nothing I could give it up / And then give it all again / Interstates are not what I want,” she sings on the album’s captivating opener. Her voice rises and the tempo slows, embedding a few simple, cryptic lines with gravity. There’s an understated brightness throughout, punctuated by occasional drums, strings, and keys. It’s these types of unassuming, crushing instants that give Thx its distinct emotional weight.

After learning the guitar at an early age, Read began to use the name Lomelda (a made-up word she said means “echo of the stars”) when she was in high school. Originally from small-town Silsbee, Texas, Read’s travels in the state brought her to live in both Waco and Austin. She’s staying in the latter city at the moment, though it’s hard for her to pinpoint which exactly is home. “I’m sitting in my car right now,” she says. “That’s maybe more my home than any of those two places.” After opening for a string of shows with Snail Mail this month, Read will also tour as a bassist with her labelmates Hovvdy.

Lomelda’s songs often recall moments on the open road, but in the world her songs create, leaving for somewhere new is as much a source of wonder as a source of longing—like when she’s flying down highways and throwing her fists on “Nervous Driver.” Her travels eventually bring her to New York City on “From Here,” where she pleads to be located: “Hey friend, how are you doing? / I’m calling you from Brooklyn / Can you find me?”

Reflecting again on the title, Read says it emerged from “recognizing that I’d made something that was very personal. I could see myself connecting to other people through this process. And that’s what I was thankful for.” Maybe that gratitude is its own destination.

Lomelda and Snail Mail play Brooklyn Bazaar Friday, January 26 at 8pm (adhocpresents.com). $12.

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