Louisvillians Amanda Lucas and Audrey Cecil have been friends since they were 10 years old, and both had a penchant for music — learning guitar, harmonizing, writing songs. But it wasn’t until they played their first gig together — on Dec. 7, 2007, at Bearno’s by the Bridge — that they realized the magic they could create together on stage.
Now, 12 years later, their band Bridge 19 is preparing to launch its third studio album, “In the Afterglow,” on April 26, but the first single from the album, titled “The One,” is making its viewing debut right here in this very article.
The song is inspired by the #MeToo movement and interestingly takes its point of view from the perpetrator. And in fact, a portion of the proceeds from the digital sales of “The One” will be given to a Louisville nonprofit in support of women’s rights.
Watch the video below:
Bridge 19 also includes musicians Jeff Faith (bass), Meg Samples (drums) and Joey Thieman (accordion, horns) and has played all around town as well as across the country, opening for the likes of Brandi Carlile, Dr. Dog, Langhorn Slim, Sarah McLachlan, Asleep at the Wheel, Richard Thompson and more. The album release party will be held at Odeon on Saturday, April 27.
Insider caught up with Lucas and Cecil to talk about the songwriting process for “The One,” the new album and their longtime friendship.
Insider Louisville: What made you write “The One” from the perspective of the perpetrator?
Amanda Lucas: At our writing retreat, we talked about the (former USA Gymnastics physician) Larry Nassar hearing and how we couldn’t fathom someone feeling such a sense of entitlement.
We started discussing our own #MeToo experiences and an incident where we were both followed after a show at The Rudyard Kipling. It took off from there and came to us relatively fast.
Audrey Cecil: Really, it just came down to the fact that neither of us were able to understand the sense of entitlement that these perpetrators have. Like, what makes them feel like they are entitled to “yes” and entitled to take whatever they want without fear of consequence? That is unfathomable to me.
And it ranges from an ignorant bar-goer who feels entitled to start a conversation with someone who doesn’t want it (like the video depicts) to someone who commits actual crimes against people for their own gain. We wrote multiple songs about this topic — this is the only one that was from the perspective of the perp, and for whatever reason, it’s the one that stuck with the band.
IL: And you incorporated your own #MeToo experiences?
AL: Audrey and I regularly go on writing retreats, and one of our scheduled retreats was during the Larry Nassar hearing. We had both been watching the women give their victim statements, and that is what prompted the conversation. Even though we had known each other for over 20 years, it wasn’t something we had previously discussed.
My #MeToo experience occurred in my early 20s. I was working several jobs, and at one of them, I was trained by a local celebrity. He was untouchable and he knew that. The song is about entitlement and not accepting no, which I experienced first-hand.
AC: Our conversations about the song definitely began because of the Nassar trial, but as we were writing, I think subconsciously the song really was about our own experiences with assault, disrespect and fear. We could never attempt to tell the stories of those victims, we can only tell our own and hope it does some good. It’s so topical now, and even still we are both having to go back and unpack some difficult stuff.
IL: What is your songwriting process like?
AL: Our writing process varies. Personally, I write lyrics in the notes section of my phone when they come to me, which is everywhere and usually when I’m supposed to be paying attention to something else. From there, I copy them over into a notebook.
On writing days, sometimes one of us brings part of a song to finish together, and other times one of us may bring a theme. Sometimes when we get together, we talk about what is going on in the lives of our friends/families and it sparks an idea. Once we decide on the theme, we start saying words and phrases that come to mind when thinking of the theme, and I look through the lyrics I’ve written to see if any are relevant.
My job is the recorder, so I write everything down on graph paper while Audrey plays the chords on the guitar. Once we decide on a line, I transfer it over to the official Bridge 19 songwriting notebook. Writing is one of my favorite aspects of music because it’s like putting together a puzzle.
AC: With our last two albums, we have written mostly together. There are a couple of songs on “In the Afterglow” that I wrote about half of, then brought to Amanda and we finished them together. We’ll text each other lyric ideas, or I’ll record a chord progression or a riff and send it to her. We keep them in a log and use them when we need them. And then some are totally in the moment, we sit (well, Amanda sits — I pace) and write together and create a song start to finish. We’ve gotten really used to writing together.
IL: How long have you two been playing music together?
AL: Our first show as a duo took place on Dec. 7, 2007, at Bearno’s by the Bridge. At the time, we just went by our names. I released a solo album in 2008 that Audrey played on, and she released a solo album in 2010 that I played on.
For some reason, people were very confused that our band name was our names, so before we released our first joint record in 2012, we decided to name ourselves after our first show location and the date of our first show together: Bearno’s by the Bridge and 12+7=19.
AC: Amanda probably has the exact date in her brain. I’m bad with time.
IL: What can we expect from “In the Afterglow”?
AL: This album is serious but fun, so kind of like a musical mullet — business in the front and party in the back. We wanted to make a record that reflected our experiences, both good and bad, and is a blast to play live.
AC: Lots of brutal honesty. But also lots of fun, danceable songs. I think we agree this album and its themes are the most “adult” we’ve tackled in our music. We’ve both been through a lot over the last few years — good and bad. We’ve both gotten married, we’ve experienced loss, anxiety. We’ve been through some (and adjusted to some) difficult relationships. We’ve helped friends through heartbreak and divorce. We’ve witnessed addiction.
While many of the topics sound heavy, we were really intentional about making much of the album fun, sonically. There are some super fun tunes on there. There are folk sounds, vintage R&B sounds, country sounds, even disco.
IL: What makes it different than your previous albums?
AL: This album is more mature than our previous records. It’s a good mix of several genres and is different than our old stuff, but still sounds like Bridge 19.
AC: I think it’s different in lots of ways. Some sound elements are the same — the things people know us for, like vocal harmony, a super catchy rhythm section (Meg and Jeff) and interesting horn, accordion and keys lines (Joey). We added pedal steel and trombone to the mix this time, and it sounds to me like it’s been there all along — those instruments sound so natural for our sound.
We were very intentional about writing different kinds of songs than we have before. Also, the themes — like I said before, it was new territory for us.