The Tender Thorne

She’s been lauded for her unique voice, her poetic lyricism and her tender-to-gutsy guitar. Lucie Thorne spoke with The Echo on the eve of her Mullumbimby show with special guest Jimmy Dowling.

How do you approach songwriting? 
Do you tend your lyrics like a careful gardener, or do you like to let a few weeds run wild?

Songs nearly always start for me with a melodic idea, and then I’ll often noodle around humming vowel sounds till a phrase or two presents, and from there… it depends. Sometimes the text arrives in a steady stream; often most of the text will land like that, and then it’s a matter of playing around with it till it shapes up. I love the storytelling element of song form, and also the space for poetic ambiguity. And how playfully shifting even just a few words seems to lift a whole lyric. It’s curious to me how often a particular turn of phrase seems to plant itself firmly into a certain melody, and the rest grows from there…

How do you make decisions when you are creating music? It seems to me that every song could go 100 ways. Which way is the right way? Can you ever know?

This can certainly be a conundrum when it comes to recording. Although most of the time the song usually leads the way pretty clearly. When I’m working on new songs I’ll sometimes try them out in a bunch of different ways before they ‘land’, and then again it’s good to remember that they are little living breathing creatures, and can keep shifting around.

Lucie-Thorne-polka-dotsTell me a little about your creative collaborations with Pieta. How do you know when you meet another singer/songwriter that you are collaborators rather than adversaries…?

It’s a beautiful thing to find someone with whom you have a really instant and strong musical chemistry. That was certainly the case with Pieta. Especially with regards our singing together.

That kinda effortless sweet feeling when we first sang harmonies together. That was really strong for both of us, so we were both very inclined to follow that, and see where it might take us, and what we might come up with together. It’s been a really fun side project for both of us, and I’m sure there’ll be another instalment of that somewhere down the road… but for now Love Over Gold is on the backburner for a little while, while we both get cracking on our respective new solo albums….

What are the books that you have read along the way that have stirred your interest as a songwriter?

Well I sure love to read. And have an awful lot of favourite writers, that I’m sure have filtered through in their various ways to influence my writing, although I don’t think of it as being a very direct correlation. Willa Cather, Toni Morrison, Truman Capote, Alice Walker, Eric Beach, Machado de Assis, Gerald Murnane, Dorothy Porter… the list could go on and on.

What should we expect for your upcoming Mullum show?

I’ve got a whole bunch of new songs that I’ll be trying out – ahead of making a new record a little later in the year – so the friendly northern rivers listeners are gonna once again be my guinea pigs as I test out this new material. And of course I’ll be dipping in to the back catalogue, and playing a bunch of old faves. Support for the night comes from one of my favourite local treasure – the one and only Jimmy Dowling! There’s a really good chance that we might even swing a duet or two for a finale… never know your luck, eh!

Lucie Thorne plays at St Martin’s in Mullumbimby at 8pm on Saturday.
Tickets and info at


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