B.R. Lively plays Prophet Bar on Saturday, Nov. 11, with Tow'rs and Zach Winters.
B.R. Lively says it all started with a breakup. It shook the indie folk singer-songwriter to his core, drawing him away from the security of his Austin home and out onto the road.
Lively sold most of his worldly possessions last July, and since then he and and his dog Kato have been living in a 1990 Winnebago named Joanie. His switch in lifestyle came not long after he finished work on his first solo album, Into the Blue.
“It was all at the same time. My girlfriend left me two weeks before we went in the studio,” Lively said over the phone as he pulled out of New York. “We had everything prepped in the studio, but then I wrote a bunch of new songs," he continues. "I was at the point where I was sort of like, ‘OK, that’s it. Just go in there and do this.’”
Lively is making his way home to Dallas for a Nov. 11 at Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum, where he says he cut his teeth writing songs and playing shows as a teenager. But Lively didn't get serious about music until he moved to Athens, Georgia, to attend the University of Georgia. In 2013, after graduating with a degree in marketing and a certificate in music business, Lively moved to Austin. It was there that he met vocalist and guitarist Gordy Quist of Band of Heathens fame.
“He’s independently supporting himself and his family, and to me that’s my goal. I wanted to just pick his brain as a songwriter and somebody who has that experience of a decade and beyond doing this,” Lively said. “We really connected and got along and had the same sort of musical taste and perspective on songwriting.”
Quist expressed interest in producing Into the Blue and brought in bandmates Richard Millsap and Scott Davis. Together with Lively’s longtime musical partner, Thomas Avery, the group created a stripped-down and deeply emotional album.
Tracks such as the soul-baring title song “Into the Blue” see Lively confront his failings in an attempt to move past them, which is also what he's trying to accomplish through life on the road. He calls his new home of rubber, asphalt and the great outdoors a "sacred space."
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“I believe in the power of positivity. It hasn’t been easy; it’s not just been the romantic, idyllic thing, and it’s still something I’m discovering,” Lively said. “I need to just focus on getting myself grounded and getting myself re-evaluated before I start paying everything else out and taking on larger things.”
Lively says his self-imposed exile doesn’t have a time table; it will begin and end organically. He's planning to travel to the West Coast after this tour, but right now he's focused on his homecoming shows on Nov. 11 in Dallas and Dec. 8 in Plano.
“Growing up and playing those songs and playing those shows — that was just fun. I was passionate about it; I gave it my all,” Lively said. “I’m sure I’ll play in bands and collaborate with people, but it’s bringing me back to the core of what I felt at the very beginning of when I started playing music and writing music. It was something [like] that feeling of coming home.”
B.R. Lively, 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, Prophet Bar, 2548 Elm St., $10, ticketfly.com.