Are You Lucid?

How a Home-grown, Genre-blending Band Charmed the Norteastern Music Scene.

(DoNorth/Laura Carbone)

Born and raised in the musically diverse Adirondacks, Lucid creates universal music that gets people moving.

Working with a wide span of instruments from the harp to the accordion, Lucid energizes listeners by continually discovering new ways to fuse genres that shouldn’t work together, but somehow do. Their music draws inspiration from rock n’ roll, reggae, rhythm and blues, honky tonk, jazz and metal.

For first-time listeners, the band’s audacious sound may seem eccentric and unpredictable. Even longtime fans are often stumped when asked to describe Lucid’s sound and style. As for the players, anything goes. A song could start out country, move into heavy metal for a few bars, then smoothly transition back to country with ease.

The band consists of the musical talents of Lowell Wurster, vocals, percussion and harp; Ryan “Rippy” Trumbull, drums; Kevin Sabourin, guitar and vocals; Jamie Armstrong, saxophone, clarinet and vocals; Christ Shacklett, bass, trombone and vocals; and Andrew Dellar, keyboards, accordion and vocals.

“One of the critiques we’ve had is that we have too many genres, but the people love that we play too many genres because it keeps them on their toes,” Wurster says. “We’re rock n’ roll. We jump around a lot but, at the core, it gets your feet moving and gets you rocking.”

Most of the current members of Lucid have known each other since they were kids goofing around with instruments and writing songs in Plattsburgh. Over the years, the core of the band has evolved and honed in on its sound and dynamics through collaboration and some trial and error.

Lucid’s four albums “Miles Deep,” “Dewdmanwah,” “Home is Where We Wanna Grow,” and “Dirt,” have allowed the band to travel thousands of miles on tour since 2005.

“We’ve always been on tour,” Wurster says. “We’ve crushed the Northeast. Any given weekend we leave for three to four days, and we’ll be all over the place.”

The Waterhole in Saranac Lake, The Monopole in Plattsburgh and 20 Main in Au Sable Forks are some of the band’s favorite venues. They’ve also played shows in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. But Wurster admits the hometown crowds are “always the best.”

Wurster, who was born and raised in Plattsburgh, says The Monopole is the home for original artists and songwriters. The top floor where artists perform displays hundreds of band stickers clinging to any empty space the walls still offer. He says if it weren’t for The Monopole, Lucid wouldn’t have as much of a following as they do today.

Lucid has played bigger venues such as B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York City, but they often feel unsettled with the superficial corporate greed lurking in the shadows. For that reason, Lucid prefers performing for an intimate hometown crowd over an unfamiliar one.

As a band born and raised in the Adirondacks, their way of life greatly influences their lyrical content.

“Where you find the mountain, you find the music,” Wurster says. “When you’re in the valleys of the mountains, there’s a lot of creativity everywhere you go.”

Growing up surrounded by the tight-knit North Country community has influenced the motifs of Lucid’s songs.

“Our songs are about human emotion and, sometimes, they’re angry emotion,” he says. “Our overall theme is community and togetherness and love, not to sound too cheesy but I mean it’s really kind of that. Even if you’re angry, there’s still going to be some love in there.”

“Backwoods” from their first album “Miles Deep” is one of the band’s most popular songs for its spirited harmonica solos and introspective lyrics: “I gotta jump on a train. I gotta make a new name. I gotta get the hell out of this town. I don’t know if I’m looking for love or hate. There’s nothing to show me except for fate.”

These themes are amplified in their 2013 album “Home is Where We Wanna Grow” through thoughtful lyrics and dynamic transitions. The band said the music and lyrics were greatly influenced by the local organic farmers at Fledging Crow Vegetables.

“The lyrics evolved over time,” Wurster says. “I think they have more meaning as you get older. Different things become important to you.”

“From the feel-good delivery of community values that inspired the album title in ‘Ground on Up,’” the band wrote on its website, “to the hard-hitting and energetic ‘Boats,’ the soul felt ballad ‘Purple Moon’ to the powerful and aggressive ‘Came and Went,” the twelve tracks are packed full of energy and sound with diverse instruments and stylistic transitions,”

Years of friendship and perfecting the craft has shaped Lucid into the spirited band that puts community before anything else. Wurster says for anyone looking to start their own band, passion, practice and patience are key.

“I think we have a message, and people still tell us all the time how much our music means to them or how our music has saved their lives,” Wurster says. “Who am I to judge how people get through hard times?”

Issue 11: Summer/Fall 2018

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