DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
LLANO — Sometimes, letting go of what you know, what is secure, leads you down the most incredible roads.
As a freshman at the University of Texas, Lainey Wright found herself torn between her academic studies and her musical endeavors. The “right thing to do” would have been to complete her education and then get a job.
However, Wright, a Llano High School graduate, went with the other choice: music.
And as the narrator in Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” is forced to choose between two paths and picks the one less trodden, Wright’s decision made all the difference.
“It was my second semester at UT. I just felt I wasn’t doing the best at either. I was doing OK in both but really wasn’t doing great at either,” Wright said. “Music was something I was interested in doing, so I decided to just go ahead and go with it.”
Her initial plan was to take off a semester or two, but it’s stretched into several years with musical tours up the Pacific Northwest, the East Coast and Canada as well as at least two trips to Norway and Europe. She’s also released two albums with a third on the way.
“Yeah,” she said with a laugh, “it’s turned into more than a semester, but it’s been amazing. I’ve had some really great experiences.”
Wright is returning to Llano on April 22 to help kick off her third album “Til We Go Home.” She’ll be performing at 7p.m. at the LanTex Theater, 113 Main St. Tickets are $10 at the door.
Her album comes out a few days earlier on April 14.
Joining Wright at the LanTex will be Humming People, a Norway band she met while touring the country.
Wright, who describes her music as singer-songwriter and folk/pop, made her first trip to the Scandinavian country about two years ago when one of her producers invited her. During the tour, one of the members of Humming People performed with the two. This connection eventually led to more performances together.
When Humming People decided to tour the United States this year, they opted to start off in Texas and linked up with Wright for the Llano performance.
Humming People’s latest album, “City of Lost Men,” has a definite Americana feel to it. Nashville producer Phil Madeira helped the band record the album, even traveling to Norway to catch the group in their natural settings.
Wright’s upcoming third album takes a different turn for her than the two previous ones — not necessarily the sound but how she made it. Wright teamed up with Matthew Odmark of Jars of Clay to produce “Til We Go Home.” She brought some of her own songs, but they also did a lot of writing in the studio. During the production, she and Odmark invited other songwriters to add their own touches.
In previous albums, studio musicians backed up Wright, but this time, two Austin musicians with whom she regularly plays joined her on the album. She said that was an advantage because the three of them already had a connection, so they could just focus on playing.
“It was a really great experience,” Wright said.
When she returns to Llano later this month, it will be the first time since 2013 she’s played in her hometown.
“We’re all looking forward to it,” she said of herself and the members of Humming People.
Looking back the past four or five years since making her musical decision, Wright admitted feeling apprehensive about leaving the “safety” of school for the unknown of music.
“There were plenty of things that could have kept me from making this decision — a lot of it was that safety,” Wright said. “Thankfully, for whatever reason, there was something nudging me toward music. Yeah, it was a little scary, the unknown, but look where I’ve been and what I’ve done. It was definitely worth it.”
Wright’s album will be available through her website, www.laineywright.com, or on iTunes.