What do you get when a recovering reporter, performance poet and fairy tale collector writes songs? Heather Aubrey Lloyd has co-fronted Baltimore’s ilyAIMY (i love you And I Miss You) for 17 years, playing everything from bars to bait shops to clothing-optional resorts nationwide. After a solo stint backing Dar Williams, Lloyd started work on a solo CD. 2017’s “A Message in the Mess" is a storybook drawn from real life, but populated by colorful, larger-than-life characters: Hippie Tooth Faeries, Jackson Pollock reincarnated as a flock of pigeons and aspiring animal crackers. The common thread: Lloyd’s stunning and emotive alto, pushed to new limits in inventive arrangements featuring mandolin, banjo, upright bass, ukulele and delightfully bizarre percussion (yes, that really is recorded bubble wrap). The CD ushered in a year of major national awards: 2017 Telluride Troubadour Top 4, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival MOST WANTED Artist. 2018 started with THREE more honors: the Songwriter's Association of Washington/Mid-Atlantic Song Contest Director's Award for "Album of the Year," National Women's Music Festival emerging artist, and finalist for the No Depression Magazine/Freshgrass Festival Songwriter Award.
Previously, Lloyd has been a Lilith Fair Talent Search Finalist, and a frequent honorable mention in both the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Contest. ilyAIMY is the 3-year-reigning Best Contemporary Folk Group/Duo at the Washington Area Music Awards and a Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Most Wanted Winner, among other honors.
In-Depth on the New CD: Lloyd met Reno-based pop-rock band, The Novelists, and teamed up with them for arrangements and instrumentation that mark a polished departure from her alt-folk grit with ilyAIMY. The result: Traditionally folk/acoustic instruments used in unorthodox ways that court jazz, indie, classical and rock. The disc begins with the anthemic pop love song, “Ask For Me,” and passes through the funny glockenspiel/kazoo folk of “The Animal Crackers Song” to end up in the string arrangement of “Pollock” and grinding roots rock of “Phantom.” Through it all, Lloyd‘s dusky, sensual, intensely emotional voice tells her unusual stories. As her CD wrapped, The Novelists won a performance spot on Train’s Sail Across the Sun Cruise, and are poised for major success. LA-based David Peters of Oak House Recording (Amber Rubarth, Vienna Teng) also mixed/mastered ”Mess.”
"Not only are her individual songs great, the collective body of work that she has put out is impressive … And the way that she works at music like it matters … She brings a ferocity, an intensity … Let’s face it, if this was Salem she would have been burned at the stake."
- Jay Keating, President, Songwriter's Association of Washington
"Sometimes an artist just needs to stretch her wings [and 'A Message in the Mess'] is so eclectic ... designed to showcase Lloyd's vocals, which remind you of Natalie Merchant in [her] prime. Seriously, 'The Animal Crackers Song' is freaking magical (are those kazoos and xylophones with a brass section?!?). The lyrics are delightful, and it will make you feel great - Put it on repeat."
- Charm City Radio
"Her voice, which is elegantly controlled with a slight smokiness … is SO compelling that it might take a while before you become conscious of just how strong the songs are lyrically … an intimate presentation, as if she is performing just for the listener."
- H. Stephen Patton, Driftwood Magazine
"Voices this hard-hitting don't come around often. Sing me the phone book - I'll ask for an encore."
- Pat Wictor (Brother Sun)
"Lloyd's voice has a powerful emotional and technical range, using everything from a delicate whisper to a bluesy growl to breathe life into the folk narratives."
- The Morning Call
"A pint-sized powerhouse of a singer."
- The Washington Times