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LYAL STRICKLAND

Preservation

Interview about 2015 plans

By Ed Peaco - Springfield News-Leader

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Lyal Strickland said he's thinking about getting older (late 20s), looking back on his life, and looking ahead to the heap of work he has created for himself in the new year.

He's being choosier about the material he takes into the studio, yet he feels that he owes his fans a new album sooner than he can produce one. He also wants to give his 2013 release, "Balanced on Barbed Wire," a promotional boost. All of this on top of operating the family farm at Buffalo.

"As you get older, the live-for-today aspect of things seems less appealing," he said. With these weighty thoughts on his mind, it's no surprise that he expects his next album will be more introspective.

Strickland lately has played a flurry of gigs in Springfield, which will culminate at First Night. He'll play 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m. at the Fox Theatre.

Looking ahead, he has a few pieces for the new album, and he plans to write most of the rest of the songs between now and Jan. 20, when he'll will hit the road for three months in support of "Balanced on Barbed Wire." He wants to leave opportunities for the rest of the new songs to pop up while he's traversing the interstates of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado.

He'll return home in April to record the album then return to touring in June. The new album should come out in early 2016, he said. Meanwhile, he plans to record a live album, perhaps just as a digital download, and release a new song as a single.

"My fans have been amazing and incredibly supportive," he said. "It's asking a lot of them to go through another year without a fresh album. So I want to do everything I can to get some new stuff in their hands."

"Balanced on Barbed Wire" needs more attention because family priorities prevented him from promoting it extensively when it was released, he said. "It got out there for my fans, but it didn't get pushed at all. We still feel like it's a good record, some of the best stuff that I've done." In addition to supporting the disc on tour, he plans to do a vinyl pressing of the album next year.

Some of the songs on "Balanced on Barbed Wire" address the social and economic aspects of contemporary rural life. He updated those observations in a recent interview, noting mixed results recently for farmers, small towns and poor communities.

"I feel that segments of our society are doing really well, and, because of that, there's not as much attention drawn to the plights of other people," he said. "I still see the encroachment on small-town traditions and just the neighborly aspect of the Ozarks."

In any case, he said he's looking forward to playing on First Night, and he welcomes the casual, drop-in atmosphere.

"I'm still going to be stepping into the world of my songs," he said. "If you can catch someone's ear, then it's up to the song to draw them in for a few minutes or an hour."