‘smallsongs’ is a YouTube series brought to you by Americana Highways with small & stripped down performances on the streets of different cities around the world, featuring musical acts at their rawest.
A few months back I was listening to Colorado’s Indie 102.3 (which at the time was CPR) on the radio when a new tune from Inaiah Lujan came on titled “I’ve Been Waiting.” It was my first time hearing this legendary artist and I immediately fell in love with his unique sound. I figured that he must be some musical genius who the whole music world already knew about that I’d not yet discovered. But I was surprised to find out that this was only his second single out on Apple Music or Spotify at the time. Soon I found his Bandcamp page, and Patreon, and podcast, and his previous Colorado based record label Blank Tape Records, and his self produced music videos, and his veggie friendly cooking tutorials on Instagram, and his brief experience as a stand up comedian, and his work with the acclaimed Americana quartet The Haunted Windchimes, and the list continues. It’s not often that you find a multi-faceted and a masterful genre bending artist like Inaiah Lujan. Everything he touches turns to gold, and he doesn’t live in some big American city. He lives and works out of Pueblo, Colorado.
So I took the opportunity to email him and see if he’d be interested in performing on ‘smallsongs,’ which he was happy to be a part of. A couple nights later I met his humble and reserved self at the Roxy on Broadway for a quick small song outside the venue. He then enjoyed some tea and butternut squash soup, and introduced me to some of his closest friends including a member of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. Next up came Inaiah’s mesmerizing & dimly lit act that went in the middle of Erika Ryann and Blue Book.
Here he performs an acoustic version of the title track “Echo Brain” off his upcoming LP, and then an old classic of his titled “Sky is Falling,” followed by a cover of Jidenna’s “Bambi” at the Roxy on Broadway in Denver:
Getting to meet and collaborate with a one of a kind musician like Inaiah Lujan is exactly what ‘smallsongs’ is all about. I first got to listen to his beautifully produced, mastered, and precise songs. But then as ‘smallsongs’ I get to hear his tunes in a new, raw, and stripped down way. I asked Inaiah a few questions for this article:
Q: When did you first start playing music & why?
A: Music has been life since birth, my earliest memories are musical… my first real love of music was cultivated through listening to records with my mom and her small but impressive collection of rock’n’roll, soul and R&B vinyl. I gravitated towards a small Casio keyboard my parents purchased and taught myself piano around age 3 – the why is because I had a burning deep inside of me to pursue music as a lifestyle, as a religion, and that flame is still burning bright.
Q: What does your songwriting & creative process typically look like?
A: I think of my creativity as a large body of water I return to and cast my line out… sometimes I catch a big fish but mostly I just enjoy the environment and I return there daily.
Q: Who are your artistic & musical influences?
A: Too many to name but ranges from early folk and blues to hip hop and punk rock.
Q: What all are you working on right now?
A: Just released my first single of 2020 “Ruby” finishing mixing on an EP due in spring and have other releases planned for the year TBA.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your upcoming album “Echo Brain.”
A: It’s a break up album and a snapshot of my experience going through a divorce from my partner and band mate of 12 years. It’s the most raw and vulnerable thing I’ve created. I’m excited and terrified to share it.
I’m simultaneously inspired and curious how Inaiah Lujan hasn’t yet taken over the music industry. But I won’t be surprised when he does. Luckily he’s not afraid to let us fans in on his creative process. He’s always sharing new material through his patreon and other online platforms. Stay tuned for the release of his timeless and sonically diverse new album “Echo Brain” !