The highways that snake inward from the East Coast to the Midwest and beyond are littered with potentially lethal distractions. Big rigs, suicidal deer, and intimidating curves are fixtures on the roads that truss Virginia. Rural Ohio offers a straight course through its open sprawl, though the giant mile-marking billboards plastered with the Ten Commandments are enough to send you into the bumper of the station wagon that inexplicably slowed to a crawl in front of you. But when Aly Spaltro — a/k/a Lady Lamb — grabbed her Fender Jaguar, left Brooklyn, and set out on a solo leg of one of the national tours in support of 2013's Ripely Pine, her remarkable full-length debut, the unfurling expanse of concrete between her and a Midwestern venue struck as benevolent, even inspiring. Spaltro sang to herself while flying solo, and she didn't peel her eyes from the horizon in order to commit "Vena Cava" — what would become the first track on her sophomore effort, After — to memory. Hell, she didn't take her hands off the wheel to hit the "record" button on her iPhone.
Photo by Shervin Lainez Aly Spaltro, a/k/a Lady Lamb