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Americana from Down Under

BY CLAIRE DIETZ | OCTOBER 23, 2014 5:00 AM

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Australian singer/songwriter Lucie Thorne spent six weeks jumping among Romania, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and other parts of Europe, before deciding to take her Americana sound to, well, America.

"Once you get halfway across the world, you might as well keep going," she said.

Thorne will make the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., one of her U.S. stops at 8 p.m, today. Tickets are $8. She will share the stage with local guitarist and songwriter Dustin Busch.

She has been hailed as "Australia's PJ Harvey" and describes her music as both folk and rock and roll with heavy focus on lyricism.

"I love the storytelling element of songwriting," Thorne said. "The lyrics are a big part of songwriting, trying to tell a little story."

While Thorne centers on folk, Busch will bring to the Mill stage the kind of blues that can only be found having been raised in Iowa.

"I think that you shouldn't have two types of the same act on the bill," said Andre Perry, the talent buyer at the Mill. "It's more interesting for the audience that has one act doing something and one act doing something else, and it makes the whole night more interesting."

Since reopening in 2003, co-­owners Marty Christensen and Dan Ouverson have aimed to provide a social space in which educational and creative artists can thrive.

"The restaurant certainly benefits from shows like this as people who may not be familiar with the Mill come in to see a show, and appreciate our food, drinks, aesthetic, and service," Christensen said. "We invested in the Mill because it is a venue that has an important place in the community."

Perry emphasized the importance of bringing a wide variety of acts into Iowa City in order to benefit the local community.

"We try to get a little bit of everything, so we try to collaborate with the University [of Iowa]," he said. "And there's a big tradition of folk, Americana musicians in Iowa and Iowa City, and so we do make sure that we try to acknowledge that tradition … It's really all over the place, and we think that's a great way to stay connected with the community. Because there are a lot of different people in Iowa City."

Americana roots apparently extend beyond Iowa City, reaching all the way Down Under. In fact, Iowa­City­born musician Pieta Brown encouraged Thorne to visit Iowa after the two collaborated on the album Fall to Rise as part of their side project Love Over Gold.

Though Brown will not join Thorne onstage, the Australian musician said she looks forward to the Iowa City performance.

"I've heard great things about Dustin, and I think we're going to have a fun night," she said.


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