Lauren “Lou” Turner is a polymathic poster child for the collaborative ethos of Nashville’s music scene. You may know her as part of the folk-rock supergroup Styrofoam Winos, host of the weekly radio show The Crack in Everything on WXNA or from her performances at poetry readings around town like the Mirror House series. Today, we're pleased to premiere the music video for “Widening Venn Diagram,” the first single from her second solo record Songs for John Venn.
Turner released her first solo album An Ex-Pat Returns (with the Winos as her backing band) in 2017. In the years since, she has toured extensively with the Winos and worked as a library assistant. In her time at the library, she has become fascinated with the work of John Venn, the creator of the Venn diagram — you know, the one that lets you see what two or more separate things have in common. The overlapping of things that might not seem to have much in common is something Turner finds deeply inspiring.
“It feels like a timely symbol in our polarized times, where we often classify one another too quickly or callously, perceiving things within binaries instead of seeking out overlap,” she writes. “Widening Venn Diagram” offers a message of solidarity. No matter what your background or identity may be, we all share commonalities that bring us together. The more you look, the more we look alike — the diagram widens.
The video, which you can see above, opens with a shot of Turner cooking eggs in a frying pan. It’s a chill, idyllic portrait of everyday life, in which Turner cooks, paints and looks out her window. The sound is soft but full, with sweeping pedal steel guitar played by Ellen Angelico, layers of harmonies from Ziona Riley and Turner’s partner and Winos bandmate Trevor Nikrant, and light accents on drums (by Kate Haldrup) and cello (by Austin Hoke).
The piece features a prominent egg motif. In one scene, Turner is in what appears to be the shower, staring directly into the camera and smiling as egg yolks stream down her hair and face. In another, she cuts into two fried eggs, plated to look like a Venn diagram, and the yolks stream together into a bright yellow mass in the middle of the plate. All the while, she sings about love and grappling with large questions.
The video, filmed at the artist’s home in South Nashville, was directed by Turner and Paula Ramirez with assistance from Nikrant, and edited by Linda Parrott. The song was tracked and mixed by Haldrup and mastered by Ross Collier. Songs for John Venn is set for release on April 3 via the feminist record label Spinster, and you can preorder it right here.
You’ve got an opportunity coming up to catch Turner in person with the Winos on Sunday, March 15, at The East Room, and again for the release party on April 3 at Drkmttr. At the latter event, you’ll also hear Glimmer and Heinous Orca, plus readings by A.M. Ringwalt (whose music you’ve heard under the name Anne Malin) and Hilary Bell, and paintings and prints by Peggy Snow. All proceeds will benefit The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s tornado relief fund.