Lydia Loveless (born September 4, 1990; as Lydia Ankrom) is an alternative countrysinger-songwriter from Columbus, Ohio. Her music combines classic country, honky tonk, and punk rock.
Loveless was born in Coshocton, Ohio, in the Newcastle area. She is the daughter of Parker Chandler and has two older sisters, Eleanor Sinacola and Jessica, who now performs under the stage name "Jessica Wabbit". Loveless grew up on a farm in a rural area outside of Coshocton and was home-schooled. She said she felt like an outcast in a town that emphasized religion and conformity until she moved to Columbus, Ohio when she was 14. She enjoyed Hank Williams III and punk-influenced country music, while also embracing popular music and rock and roll and "pretty much anything on Kemado Records."
Her family is musical: Loveless' father was a pastor, drummer, and later country-western bar owner for a time. She and her sisters played several instruments. She began trying to play the guitar at 12.
In 2004, Loveless, her father, and her sisters made up part of a four-member new wave pop band called Carson Drew, named after the father in the Nancy Drew books. Loveless played bass. The band broke up in 2007.
At a show in Cincinnati where she opened for his band, Loveless met producer David Rhodes Brown (500 Miles to Memphis) who went on to produce her first album, 2010's The Only Man. Loveless was not happy with the slick production of the album. Loveless made the record when she was 15 years old. Loveless clarified that she likes the songs she wrote, but the drawn-out process (over three years) to get the album released influenced her feelings about the project.
Columbus attorney Steve McGann became her manager. Loveless and her band drove 20 hours to Austin, Texas, and ended up playing for Bloodshot owners Rob Miller and Nan Warshaw at the 2010 South by Southwest music festival.
In 2012, signed with Bloodshot and determined to make a more raw and edgier album, she released Indestructible Machine with songs that feature themes of frustration with her hometown, drinking, depression, and a song about a stalker who looks like Steve Earle. Loveless recorded the album with many live takes and a minimum of overdubs at Grove City, Ohio's Sonic Lounge recording studio with engineer Joe Viers.SPIN characterized the record as standing out "for its utter lack of bullshit," with "roaring vocals, in her narrators' lived-in-bars recklessness, and in her overall inability to mince words."
Indestructible Machine received praise in publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Spin, AllMusic, and The Washington Post.Greg Kot wrote that Loveless' "defiant tone is matched by songs that put country and punk on equal ground, unvarnished and direct".
In the Spring of 2013, Loveless did an extensive Canadian tour supporting the Supersuckers. Loveless and her band also toured Scandinavia and Spain during the Fall of 2013.
In 2013, Loveless released Boy Crazy, an EP. Mark Deming of AllMusic praised the release, asserting that the album "is further proof that Loveless is a major talent, and if her next album is as good as this, she may run the risk of becoming a very big star". One of the songs, "Lover's Spat," is about the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
Rolling Stone cited Loveless as one of its "10 New Artists You Need to Know: January 2014."
In February 2014, Loveless released her third full-length record, Somewhere Else, on Bloodshot Records, which has a dark, "poppy" vibe.Stereogum said Loveless is using her "unmistakable voice as a songwriter, and she's only getting better at using it to blur the line between running her mouth and pouring out her heart." Loveless was listed as one of "5 Best New Artist for January 14" by SPIN magazine. The record includes "Head", a single Loveless wrote with her guitar player, Todd May, a fellow songwriter. The album had an overwhelmingly good reception and entered Billboard's Heatseekers chart (new entries to Billboard charts, compiled by Nielsen SoundScan) the first week of its release at position number 7.
In April 2014, Loveless released the Mile High/Blind 7" record for Record Store Day. The record had a non-album cut titled "Mile High" on the A side and a cover of Kesha's "Blind" on the B side. It was a limited edition release on lime green vinyl. The tracks were released in digital album format May 27, 2014.
In January 2015, a Kickstarter campaign was begun for an upcoming documentary on Loveless called Who is Lydia Loveless? -- a new rock doc from Gorman Bechard. Documentarian Gorman Bechard (Color Me Obsessed, Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart) will document the making of Loveless' next record.
In April 2015, Loveless was part of a Record Store Day release with label-mate, Cory Branan. The two artists cover two Prince songs: Loveless doing I Would Die 4 U and Branan doing Under The Cherry Moon. The 7" limited edition releases will be pressed onto purple vinyl.
Loveless' lyrical bent includes feminist/strong-woman statements, yet also includes a lot of drinking songs. Loveless is an avowed fan of Kesha, and has played "Blind" in her live shows.