Though Caley Conway And The Lucy Cukes officially called it quits last year, the project’s eponymous bandleader continues to go strong with occasional performances and an EP on the way sometime soon. Exactly how soon is up to you, the consumer. Conway’s appreciation for the tradition of seasonal hallmarks, combined with her awareness of Christmas’ gift potential inspired her to record a holiday EP she hopes will help pay to record an original release at a studio that’s “just outside [her] budget.”

The source material on Heart Be Light might be familiar, but Conway admits she took artistic liberty “with abandon” in each of the four seasonal standards she selected by taking out lyrics she either didn’t like or didn’t know. “I also didn’t bother to look up how any of these songs are actually formatted in terms of chord progression,” Conway says. “It was a cool process for me because I just captured what resonated with my intuition. And I have a rich emotional history with Christmas, so that ended up being pretty easy.”

The experimental rewrapping of holiday classics also served to challenge Conway to learn to record, a segment of the musical landscape she (accurately) claims is dominated by men. “I’ve realized that if I have no platform for self-producing my own ideas, they are at some level going to be filtered through a dude,” Conway says. She recorded and arranged everything on the Christmas EP, and she played everything except drums. The EP’s packaging is even handcrafted with custom collage art Conway made.

Caley Conway will release Heart Be Light on Bandcamp on and at a Var Gallery show with Eliza Hanson and The Oxleys on Friday, December 15. Before the reimagined holiday EP comes out, listen to it below.

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.