Norwich singer-songwriter Holly Lerski and American session bassist James ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson have launched a Kickstarter project to release a blue vinyl AA-side. Here she writes of how heartbreak led to a Jack Kerouac inspired road-trip around California, songs, stories and, ultimately, good vibes
Hello, I’m Holly Lerski and this is me when I was five. Music’s always been a big part of my life.
And, at the top of this post, this is me in 2019, recording in LA with my friend Hutch, better known as Bonnie Raitt bassist, James ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson. It was taken the day before my 50th birthday – a dream come true to be able to record with such a legend. He’s played with everyone from Ringo Starr to CSNY.
How did I end up in LA? In 2018 I got my heart broken and fell into a deep black hole I wasn’t sure I’d ever come out of. Then one day I had an idea. I’d go on US road trip. I took the California Zephyr across America and drove all around California writing songs and putting my heart back together again. It was an incredible journey full of strange, lucky breaks and many new friends. In three weeks, I clocked up just over 4000 miles and the beginnings of an album. When I got back to England, I promised myself I’d share the songs and story with people.
I returned in November to start making the record with Hutch. It was just a couple of days – in between Bonnie tours – but we managed to get five songs roughly recorded. Next day I turned 50 and the day after that I went on another two-week road odyssey. It was, again, incredible – this time exploring deserts like Death Valley and Joshua Tree – and ending up back in Big Sur, my happy place.
I was a week away from flying back to LA to finish those recording when the pandemic hit last March. But I didn’t give up. I put one of the songs out, ‘Home is Your Shoulder’, recorded at home in lockdown. St Martin’s Housing Project used it for their Christmas appeal – my sister and I made a film for them. You’ve probably never heard the song, though, as it’s so hard to promote when you’re an independent musician, especially in these times when you can’t play live.
This year, though, it feels like the tide’s turning in the world. We’re starting to feel optimistic again. And Hutch and I are hoping to celebrate that with a summer AA-side single, ‘the colour of the ocean’ – blue vinyl. So, we’re launching a Kickstarter campaign to do it. It’ll be two songs: Carmel, written on Carmel beach in 2019, and Mighty Big Sur, a song Hutch and I wrote together in January this year. Both a homage to beautiful California and the open road.
My ultimate dream is to release all the songs as an album with an accompanying book to perhaps help anyone else going through similar heartache, by showing them there is light at the end of every dark tunnel.
If you’d like to help support this project, Hutch and I would love you to pledge something and be part of helping share a story of how to fight loneliness and fix a broken heart with music, connection, and love.
Visit Holly Lerski & James ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson blue vinyl AA-side by Holly Lerski — Kickstarter and find Holly on Instagram