Multi-Grammy Nominee Lacy J. Dalton Releases New Single/Video

Multi-Grammy nominee Lacy J. Dalton did not come to mess around, and who can blame her? A seasoned veteran in the music industry famous for her hits “Crazy Blue Eyes,” “16th Avenue” and “Black Coffee” as well as her collaborative works with the likes of Willie Nelson, Bobby Bare and George Jones, she knows a thing or two on how to effectively construct a powerful tune. Knowledge in music is one thing, but the experience in life to back up the music? Well she has that in spades too.


Having spent 4 years working with the California Arts in Corrections program, she bore firsthand witness to the many injustices black incarcerated men have suffered and formed many empathetic loving bonds with both her staff and their inmates. Empathy is a major component of what makes her newest single “I Can’t Breathe” just so powerfully effective. In a recent podcast appearance Dalton went on record saying that one should not just pretend that there isn’t racial inequality in this country, and that if you don’t see it and haven’t experienced it, you’re A) not around many people of color, B) you might be a racist or C) you’re just not paying attention. Like I said, she did not come to mess around. The same razor sharp perspectives are echoed on the single which feels disarming at first, given how comforting the sounds of its acoustic and electric guitars are that open with Dalton’s world weary but passionate voice. Dalton knows from her extensive career that to convey a message, people know that you can do anything in music, but what’s more effective is what you don’t do. Many anthems such as these tend to get bogged down with glossy over-the-top production, multilayered instrumentals that sometimes drown out or overpower the vocals, but Dalton is smarter than this. She knows that this song isn’t about her, and its reflected in her lyrics, as she lets us know that she sees and hears a violently assaulted community and wants to help.

It’s a lot more nuanced than it may seem upon first listen. Dalton strays away from the trope of the “white savior” in favor of holding a mirror up to the promises of the American people while questioning why people of color continue to be cheated and abused by the system it claims they are a part of. It’s not a “fun” song in the traditional sense, but it’s not supposed to be, and Dalton makes sure for you to check that notion in at the door. I’ve listened to it multiple times and its haunting, inspired usage of the now famous words “I can’t breathe” have lingered with me for days since I’ve first heard it. At the end of the day Dalton doesn’t know how to fix this problem, but she knows it’s not something that can be fixed independently, but together and only by listening to the voices of the downtrodden who’ve received the most abuse. Refreshingly honest, altruistic and masterfully crafted, Dalton has made an anthem that will long remain relevant until we make the changes to address these frightful times.

Michael Rand

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