Lori McKenna titled her album 1988 after the year she married her husband, Gene, yet the 10 songs within also serve as a love letter to lifelong friendships, people she’s lost, and her family. Recorded with producer Dave Cobb in Savannah, Georgia, 1988 naturally has its nostalgic moments, even if not every ending is a happy one.
With more of an electric edge than her past projects, 1988 feels in step with classic ‘90s albums by Sheryl Crow or Gin Blossoms, where the lyrics pulled you in as much as the melody or production. Playing together on acoustic guitars while facing one another in the studio, McKenna and Cobb tracked the album live, giving it a feeling of immediacy and authenticity.
“I was trying to let my age and experience guide me through making a record I wished I’d made when I was younger,” she explains. “I really wanted it to sound like if I made a rock record in the ‘90s, and then I remembered that I made my first album in 1998. There's something so 30 years ago in my head about this record. In a way I wish I could start again and know what I know now.”
“I like doing solo shows, but I really like it when we’re all together,” she says. “That’s another reason why this record sounds the way it does. I really wanted it to sound like a band, because it’s so fun to play live that way. You think of Jason Isbell’s song, ‘Traveling Alone,’ and I never did that, but all of my friends did. I'm a serious homebody, so I don't love being gone, but I love playing the shows. And I also love Nashville and I love chasing songs with new people. And I feel like I really lucked out in the fact that I get to still make records. I literally cannot believe how lucky I am.”