While The Wild Rivers are operating in a full-band setting, Lomis is warming up the crowds by herself, armed only with a guitar and the finest weapon in her musical arsenal: her voice. Lomis’ voice is a fine wine, a polished sword. It’s an instrument of such purity that it inevitably elevates any production in which it's placed. If you watch the original YouTube video for Lomis’ original composition “Give Me a Chance,” she introduces herself candidly before launching into a bare-bones guitar-and-voice rendition of the song that later would find itself on her debut EP, Chapter 1. The difference between the two songs is purely one of setting and production, as Lomis’ composition and her vocal execution are nearly identical on both recordings.
While some would argue that her songs need nothing more than Lomis' immaculate voice accompanied by a lone guitar, when her songs are dressed up in lush production they gain a new level of class — like a cheeseboard with fine wine or one of Brian Ferry’s suits. The jazz organ and dark neon of the officially released version of “Give Me a Chance” exemplifies this. To call it “psychedelic” would be a disservice to its soulful sincerity, but it certainly borrows a range of sonic colors from psychedelia’s wide palate.
The recording features shades of inspiration from both of Lomis’ heroes, Amy Winehouse and the late, great producer busbee, who'd end up being one of her mentors.
busbee made his name in Nashville as a producer/songwriter behind the boards of albums like Maren Morris’ Hero and singles like Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood’s “The Fighter,” country recordings that step well out of the conventional earthy twang of the genre. He later started the artist development company Altadena, which caught wind of Lomis’ talents and helped her sign with Warner Records.
“I had released my own EP, and I met busbee through some other people from Altadena that he worked with like Daniel Lee,” Lomis says. “I knew immediately that I wanted to work with him. I just had so much respect for everyone on the label; they’re such kindhearted people. Working with busbee was such an honor, I wish that I still could.”
In the summer of 2019, the same year that Lomis and busbee met, he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer and died in September that year.
“He got me up to this level and was like ‘All right, you’re there,’ so I’m really grateful that he was in my life,” Lomis says.
Prior to his diagnosis, however, busbee was able to produce a series of recordings with Lomis that have yet to see the light of day.
“We did three or four sessions, but nothing that has been released," she says. "busbee did introduce me to Ryan [Daly], who produced all of my In the Madness EP.”
"I realized that songwriting could actually impact somebody’s life and make them feel comforted. I never stopped after then because I fell in love with that feeling.” – Lindsey Lomis
Lomis has previously described Daly as “The Finneas to my Billie [Eilish].” It's a hefty comparison, but listening to In the Madness, the analogy makes sense. Daly’s production cradles Lomis’ voice in uncluttered sonic bedsheets, allowing her compositions and vocal performance to remain the center of attention.
Lomis’ first foray into songwriting was an act of unbridled confidence that couldn't be attained by most 12-year-olds. In sixth grade, she wrote a song to soundtrack a book report for a story about a girl whose mother died of cancer.
“It was one of the first ‘real world’ things I had read,” Lomis says. “So I decided to write a song from that girl’s perspective. It was really special in the sense that it was the first time I realized that songwriting could actually impact somebody’s life and make them feel comforted. I never stopped after then because I fell in love with that feeling.”
Writing a song from a point of view other than her own is one of Lomis’ strong suits.
“When I started writing when I was 12 I didn’t have a lot of life experience, so I learned to write from other people’s perspectives,” Lomis says with a laugh. “I used to do that a ton when I was younger, and I still do.
“Even something in my own life, I’ll view it through the perspective of the other person. I can put myself in somebody else’s shoes (...) Sometimes you need that as a songwriter because there’s only so much you can write about yourself. I’ve had so much fun doing that, because I can step away from my own life for a second.”