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Photo by: Ray Gordon
Photo by: Ray Gordon

Logan Lynn on his new album "Adieu" and overcoming mental health struggles

BY MEGHAN KEARNEY // Logan Lynn is set to release new record "Adieu," an album about saying goodbye to struggles past, on September 23rd

Portland’s Logan Lynn is no stranger to struggle. For over a decade Lynn has battled demons while climbing through a web of writing, touring, holding down a full time job, and most recently dealing with sudden heartbreak and loss. In years past, Lynn’s battles have imploded in the public spotlight, but Lynn’s last, self-proclaimed mental breakdown happened in private and into a voice recorder. The product of it all: Lynn’s new record Adieu. A record that is as much a story of healing for Lynn as an anthem for others who are struggling.

Over the last 15 years, Logan Lynn has seen myriads of ups and downs. Decidedly public break downs in 2005 and 2010 led to absences from music. During the years in between, Lynn lived a life of partying and substance abuse, scenarios that destructively affected his mental health and shined through in the music he was writing. Back then, those self-reflections were more unconscious than obvious to Lynn. “In my music a long time ago there was no way to hide it. I was writing about my own struggles but I don’t think I had language for it specifically being about my mental health.”

Another breakdown only a few years ago came shortly after the end of a relationship, and the loss of a beloved best friend. Lynn shut down for the third time in his life. But this time it was different. There were no public displays, no press releases announcing career suicides. Only Lynn and his thoughts, recorded into a phone as a coping mechanism. Here, Lynn came to find an overdue rationale.

“I didn’t want to break everything again. I had been sober and I wanted to find a different way to handle it.  I started talking into my phone for six months and letting myself be in the misery and maintain composure away from the public sphere. I had to face what had happened in a different way. I got some clarity. I was sober still and feeling proud of myself,” Lynn describes.

This alone time led Lynn down a different path, that would eventually come to fruition as his new record. Adieu paints a clear and honest picture of Lynn’s struggles and their successful overcoming.

“I didn’t even know this record was going to happen,” Lynn jokes. After pulling through his breakdown, he and good friend and producer Gino Mari sat down and began going through over 500 recordings that Lynn had spoken into his phone during his three months of solitude. Mari saw something in Lynn’s recordings, and it wasn’t long before they brought them into the studio and began piecing them together cohesively. After almost 3 years, the amalgamation of these clips into Adieu is set for release this September.

Expectedly, themes of struggle and healing shine throughout the record. “Some songs are about the love and some songs are about losing the love. Some of it is about wanting to die and some is about wanting to stay. It feels like a journey to me,” Lynn shares of Adieu.

The record also offers a new sound for Lynn. During his days of partying, he wrote music that followed suit. Dancy, party-anthem style music are no more on Adieu, a record that’s coarse and led with more instrumentation than Lynn’s past records. Lynn describes the new sound fits better with themes in the album.  

He explains that the music was as raw as themes themselves. “I was sick of making dance records; I’ve been doing that for 18 years. There are still dance elements on this record but I wanted to explore playing instruments. It sounds totally different. It’s organic. I think it’s the record I’ve been trying to make since 1998.”

This new sound is boasted on tracks like “The Most Wrong in the Whole World,” full of low-fi drumming and vocals reminiscent of 90s alt legends like Mike Doughty. Muffled in the background of the track is a raw clip from Lynn’s voice recordings, beautifully structured behind despairing overlapped vocals. This one, he says, was captured the night of his birthday after awaking in the middle of the night to a strange vision.

On “Break Down” we catch a glimpse of Lynn’s classic dance vibes, except, as Lynn describes, with much darker undertones. A juxtaposed anthem to breakdown, and seeing the positive on the other side, it’s a track about acceptance, and asking for acceptance.

“We Will Overcome” reflects Lynn’s struggles perhaps the heaviest on the record. With a bit of a country twang to it, the track depicts a reflection of young naivety and a series of longing dreams. Title track “Adieu” ties the album’s themes together, fitting the mold of the sadness Lynn described in his sound. Melancholy piano carries Lynn’s heartfelt vocals as he sings of questioning, but saying goodbye to the past.  

Logan Lynn - "Can You Get Me Off?" from forthcoming record Adieu

Another goal of Adieu was to be a voice for those dealing with struggles like Lynn. When he isn’t writing and recording, he spreads his new clarity and dedication to understanding mental health throughout the Portland community and hopes this new record will be a working device.

An executive at Trillium Family Services, Lynn also runs the Keep Oregon Well campaign. Keep Oregon Well allows Lynn the opportunity to bring together music and mental health, offering free concerts and conversations with other musicians about their own struggles.

Combining these two elements has always been important to Lynn, being two massive parts of his own life. “Music has always been there for me in a way that tethered me to the world.” With his advocacy work he shares that passion with others.  “I learned my ABCs through a song, so we are trying to teach the ABCs of mental health. That intersection of music to deliver a message, either through Keep Oregon Well or my own music, it hits people in a different place in their brains.”

Regarding Keep Oregon Well, Lynn closes, “If I accomplish one thing I would like to at the end of the campaign, I’d hope that people feel like it’s cooler to be honest and own your shit than it is to pull up your boot straps and fake it till ya make it. I put a premium on authenticity at this point in my life and I hope that we inspire other people to do the same thing.”

You can now pre-order Adieu before its release on September 23rd. You can also catch Logan Lynn at Mississippi Studios where he will perform new tracks from Adieu along with a live interview on September 10th (more info). If you are interested in learning more about Lynn’s mental health advocacy work, or volunteering with Keep Oregon Well, visit the website here.

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