“I loved 1950’s Rockabilly, in its purest form,” Kyle Lacy says of his time spent listening to Carl Perkins and the Stray Cats as a teenager. “A bandleader with the ferocity of Brian Setzer and the finesse of Ray Charles, he’s got a wild soulful voice and guitar chops to match.” After moving to New York, Kyle worked in The Buddy Holly Story, which cemented his songwriting style, firmly connected to late fifties and sixties rock’n’roll. A 2017 album with his first band, Harlem River Noise, was recorded in a head spinning two days, with 10 songs all tracked live, straight to tape. “When it’s tape, you can’t go back to fix mistakes. There’s something about the mistakes that make the record come alive,” says Kyle.
Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, Kyle was surrounded by 90’s/2000’s hip-hop that had cemented itself into top-40 radio. He even found himself filming music videos for local rappers. But he says seeing the movie “Ray” changed his life: “From that point on, all I wanted to do was play and sing that old stuff. Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry. I loved that nobody else I knew listened to that stuff but me, and I played it all day, every day.” Kyle’s most recent obsession came when one songwriter friend suggested he should listen to Sam Cooke to improve his singing. “They told me, ‘I loved your first record. If there’s one thing that wasn’t there, it was the vocal.’”
Now, working with Billy Aukstik at Dala Records has helped Kyle develop the early soul sound of his new recordings and dive further into the influence of singers like Sam Cooke and Ray Charles. “Hangin’ On” was written, recorded and mixed in just one day, utilizing the signature analog approach of Dala Records. Kyle and Billy performed every instrument on the track, with Kyle laying down the drums, guitar, bass and piano, while Billy played trumpet and Hammond organ. Other influences like the early 60’s New Orleans compositions of Allen Toussaint and Dr. John can be heard throughout the track, specifically during the drum and horn break.
For the past few years, Lacy has made a living on the road with Harlem River Noise, but his first solo recordings have afforded him more freedom: “Now, I don’t have to think in terms of, ‘will people dance to this in a bar’, but I can actually say to myself, ‘would I listen to this song?’”