In what will surely cause a ripple effect across the Upstate New York and Northeast music scene, longtime North Country act Lucid will take a touring hiatus in the coming months.
“We’re certainly not breaking up — that’s something we want to make clear,” said Lowell Wurster, vocalist/percussionist for Lucid. “Everyone is doing great and we’re as close as ever. We’re brothers and our musical flow is undeniable.”
For the first time since their inception in 2004, the Plattsburgh-based sextet will be parking their trademark bus, Lucy. It is in an effort to focus more on their personal lives, and also take a new approach to climbing to the top of that unforgiving mountain this is the music industry.
“Our songs are filled with powerful stories of love and life, important messages for the human soul,” Wurster said. “But somehow, as we go into our 13th year together, there just hasn’t been enough of a buzz to really be able to make it touring nationally, and make a living in doing so.”
Wurster emphasized the sincere need to pump the brakes a little bit, especially for a band that has played hundreds of shows a year, every weekend, for almost a decade and a half.
“At this time, the hiatus is going to breathe new life into us,” he said. “It’s a drastic change in policy, but we’re going to try something new, something we’ve never tried before. This time away will allow us to slow down, spend more time with family and loved ones, and to relax. Musically, it will allow us to take all the time we need to craft each song just the way we want it before we release it into the world.”
Though, in a somewhat hushed tone, Wurster does admit part of this recent decision stems from a losing battle down a slippery slope between being a full-time musician and also finding footing in the industry.
“I talk to older musicians who say they are getting paid the same now as they were 25 years ago. Unless you have a big name and the right industry types pushing you from behind, it’s very hard making a living doing this. I know that it may all sound sad and disheartened, and it is a bit, but it’s just hard out there,” he said. “Now we’re going to put our energies into pushing our music into uncharted territories and see what happens. If we have success in doing so, and it’s time to get Lucid back on the road, then that’s what we’ll do. If it doesn’t work, then we can safely say we tried everything and move on with our lives.”
And yet, beyond Wurster’s explanation of the hiatus, one still has trouble wrapping their head around the idea of Lucid not being on the road, roaring up and down highways and back roads like some band of melodic pirates. Lucid was (is) the foundation of the North Country music scene. They are the torchbearers of artistic hopes and dreams. They are the guys who have given creative faith and genuine friendship to countless groups and social circles that came after them (and as a result of them). Lucid is the glue that holds much of the scene together, and having them take a step back from touring will leave a large hole in North Country music.
“We’re family that will never be broken,” Wurster said. “We fight like brothers and we love like brothers, and I don’t see that ever changing. None of us are going to stop playing music, it’s just not possible and something that’s not in us.”
And as an offering to their fans, the band will go on a short “Off The Bus” tour, which will go around the northeast in March, culminating with a show on April 16 at The Strand in Plattsburgh. Until then, Lucid is putting the final touches on their fifth studio album, Bonsai Zen, which is expected to drop sometime this spring.
There are also plans currently in the works for a follow-up record to be released by the end of 2016.
“We’re going to keep doing what we do, and we’ll see where that carries us,” Wurster said. “Lucid isn’t going away, we’re just changing course. The future is wide open and we’re excited to see what it brings — whatever it brings, anything it brings.”
Lucid Off the Bus Tour
3.3 Java Barn, Canton, NY
3.4 Paul Smith’s College, Paul Smith, NY
3.5 Olive Ridley’s, Plattsburgh, NY*
3.11 Penuche’s, Manchester, NH
3.12 Putnam Den, Saratoga Springs, NY*
3.17 Smoke Signals, Lake Placid, NY
3.25 Stratton Mountain, VT
3.26 Nectars, Burlington VT*
4.16 The Strand, Plattsburgh, NY
*with support to be announced