By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Many artists have a story about how they entered their chosen art form. For Sandpoint singer-songwriter Justin Lantrip, that story is a love story.
“I fell in love, basically. It’s pretty simple,” he told the Reader. “It changed something inside of me when I heard profoundly amazing music. I know that it transcends something of our daily lives that is so rigid and bears down upon us all the time. [Music] makes things dissipate.”
Lantrip has been chasing that feeling for 15 years now, writing and recording music because he felt called to do so. He will release his fourth album, Flood Gates, on Feb. 20.
“Music just blew my mind and made me feel like I was connected to something beyond myself,” he said. “I wanted to seek that more and more the more in love with music I became over time.”
Lantrip is a singer-songwriter who can’t be categorized into a single genre, drawing inspiration from artists like Father John Misty, Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontagne and Nathaniel Rateliff.
“You just kind of write what comes to you,” he said. “You can’t necessarily help it. You can certainly try to mimic something, and early on I certainly did try to mimic things, but I like to let sounds figure themselves out in a way.”
Flood Gates marks a deeper musical collaboration for Lantrip, who drew on longtime local artist Matt Donahue’s extensive background in music production and talents as a multi-instrumentalist for the new work.
“He’s got a whole different sense of perspective, and a different palate to work from,” Lantrip said of Donahue. “It was much more back-and-forth in that sense — more bouncing off somebody else instead of just trying to imagine what I think it should sound like. It [became], ‘What do we think it should sound like?’”
That collaboration made Flood Gates into a process of evolution. While Lantrip brought the initial components to the studio, Donahue wasn’t afraid to push each song to its potential.
“When I heard the tracks with just the guitar and vocals, I knew that I could bring something to the table,” Donahue said.
The result of that teamwork is a rich and textured album brimming with concepts Lantrip has been wrestling with for as many years as there are tracks on Flood Gates: 10.
“Every song on there is definitely meaningful to me. They all came out of this tumultuous last decade that I’ve had, and they all came from a pretty deep emotional state in general,” he said.
Title track “Flood Gates” exemplifies the sincerity in both Lantrip’s vocals and lyrics — a perfect marriage that makes itself present throughout the album, even as it eludes any one genre. Standout “All’s Well” rises and falls, taking the listener along for the ride through a soundscape of moody guitar and mesmerizing harmonies. Of all 10 songs on the album, Lantrip pointed to “The Only Enemy” as one he is especially proud of, having seen it through from a loose idea to a particularly well-produced track.
“It felt like it just worked — you know, sometimes it just works,” he said of the song.
With Flood Gates completed and poised for its audience, Lantrip feels nothing but anticipation — not necessarily for how people will receive the album, but for how this milestone will pave the way for more creation.
“The great thing about finishing something is that it opens up a completely new horizon for whatever’s next. I’m looking forward to writing more. I’m looking forward to maybe doing some touring and creating a live show that exemplifies at least partially what I captured on the album, and maybe beyond,” he said, noting that the songs on Flood Gates are likely to evolve and take on new life as he and his band play them live.
“I like moving forward and trying to continue to get better and make even more unique sounds,” he added. “It’s nice, once you finish something — it’s just a whole new horizon to start with. It’s exciting.”
Justin Lantrip’s new album Flood Gates will be released on Sunday, Feb. 20. Access the pre-order and find other ways to support the artist at justinlantrip.com.
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