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Lucy Dacus Finds Comfort In Loss On 'Historian'

Lucy Dacus' sophomore album, <em>Historian,</em> is available now.
Lucy Dacus' sophomore album, <em>Historian,</em> is available now.

Lucy Dacus' playful 2016 debut, No Burden,positioned the Richmond, Va. artist as one of indie rock's most promising faces. For her second go around, Dacus wanted to go deeper.

Her new album, Historian, is in large part about family. Dacus has spoken openly about being adopted, and told the story of meeting her biological family when they showed up at the singer's first-ever L.A. show. On Historian, she dives into more private stories — including, on "Pillar of Truth," the death of her paternal grandmother.

"Seeing all of her loved ones come to her bedside and show their faces and tell her, 'You matter so much to me and you contributed to my life' — that has deeply affected me," Dacus says. The song was written before the release of No Burden, she says, but didn't feel quite ready for the world until now: "More than the other songs, it needed to be exactly how I imagined it."

Though much of Historian deals with loss, Dacus says that ultimately, it's about hope. "I like to think of hope as a fact, and something that wins out always," she says. "Whether you're hopeful or not, actually, you do get through what you're in the middle of. When you're in it, you don't feel like that's possible. But time and time again, we're proven wrong."

Dacus spoke with NPR's Ari Shapiro about the themes of Historian and the emotional toll of making it. Hear their conversation at the audio link.

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