Recovering reporter, performance poet and fairy tale collector turned songwriter, Heather Aubrey Lloyd has co-fronted Baltimore’s ilyAIMY for nearly two decades. After a stint backing Dar Williams, Lloyd started work on a solo CD. “A Message in the Mess" is populated by colorful, larger-than-life characters: Hippie Tooth Faeries, Jackson Pollock reincarnated as a flock of pigeons and aspiring animal crackers. Lloyd’s stunning and emotive alto ("Melissa Etheridge, Carly Simon, Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell blended into a spark plug with curly black locks," says one review), is pushed to new limits in inventive arrangements thanks to a cross-country collaboration with Reno band, The Novelists on mandolin, banjo, upright bass and delightfully bizarre percussion (yes, that really is recorded bubble wrap). "Mess" received the Director's Award for Album of the Year from the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, and the awards haven't stopped since: 2018 FreshGrass/No Depression Songwriting Award Finalist, 2018 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival MOST WANTED Artist, 2018 National Women's Music Festival Emerging Artist, 2017 Telluride Troubadour Top 4. Lloyd started off 2019 as the Grand Prize winner of the $10,000 Bernard Ebb Songwriting Award. Look for new music in 2020!
Previously, Lloyd has been a Lilith Fair Talent Search Finalist. ilyAIMY is the 3-year-reigning Best Contemporary Folk Group/Duo at the Washington Area Music Awards and a Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Most Wanted Winner, among other honors.
In-Depth on the CD: Lloyd met Reno-based pop-rock band, The Novelists, teaming for arrangements and instrumentation that mark a polished departure from her alt-folk grit with ilyAIMY. The result: Traditionally folk/acoustic instruments used in unorthodox ways that court jazz, indie, classical and rock. The disc begins with the anthemic pop love song, “Ask For Me,” and passes through the funny glockenspiel/kazoo folk of “The Animal Crackers Song” to end up in the string arrangement of “Pollock” and grinding roots rock of “Phantom.” Through it all, Lloyd‘s dusky, sensual, intensely emotional voice tells her unusual stories. As her CD wrapped, The Novelists won a performance spot on Train’s Sail Across the Sun Cruise. LA-based David Peters of Oak House Recording (Amber Rubarth, Vienna Teng) also mixed/mastered the project.
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"Not only are her individual songs great, the collective body of work that she has put out is impressive … And the way that she works at music like it matters … She brings a ferocity, an intensity … Let’s face it, if this was Salem she would have been burned at the stake."
- Jay Keating, President, Songwriter's Association of Washington
"Sometimes an artist just needs to stretch her wings [and 'A Message in the Mess'] is so eclectic ... designed to showcase Lloyd's vocals, which remind you of Natalie Merchant in [her] prime. Seriously, 'The Animal Crackers Song' is freaking magical (are those kazoos and xylophones with a brass section?!?). The lyrics are delightful, and it will make you feel great - Put it on repeat."
- Charm City Radio
"Her voice, which is elegantly controlled with a slight smokiness … is SO compelling that it might take a while before you become conscious of just how strong the songs are lyrically … an intimate presentation, as if she is performing just for the listener."
- H. Stephen Patton, Driftwood Magazine
"Voices this hard-hitting don't come around often. Sing me the phone book - I'll ask for an encore."
- Pat Wictor (Brother Sun)
"Lloyd's voice has a powerful emotional and technical range, using everything from a delicate whisper to a bluesy growl to breathe life into the folk narratives."
- The Morning Call
"A pint-sized powerhouse of a singer."
- The Washington Times