Tori Lucia and the Nitty Gritties Deliver Power-Pop to the Handlebar

Pensacola natives Tori Lucia and the NItty Gritties bring vibrant energy to the Handlebar, as they showcase their addictive "Power Pop" music.

Tori Lucia and the Nitty Gritties Deliver Power-Pop to the Handlebar
Tori Lucia and the Nitty Gritties (Photos by Brian Butler)

I first became aware of Pensacola native Tori Lucia a couple of years ago through her solo EP King Avis. I was blown away by her music. Her clever lyrics, mesmerizing voice, and mature song construction seemed so advanced for someone who was at the time still in high school. In the past three years since that EP was produced, she’s only gotten better.

I asked Tori a little about her music, her process, The Nitty Gritties, and how she describes her sound.

"I always have a hard time describing my music and the Gritties’ music outside of pretty general boxes like “indie pop” or “indie rock.” A friend of mine described the Gritties as “power pop,” which is awesome."  

What message or themes do you find yourself drawn to in your songwriting, and why do you think they resonate with your audience?

"My writing is very imagery-based, especially recently. I prefer painting a picture around a situation that is personal to me rather than stating the situation outright, and I think that allows an audience to find their own interpretation to a song." 

Tell me a little about The Nitty Gritties. (Riley Hart on lead guitar; Thomas Averill on rhythm guitar; Luke Allen on bass; Isabella Brown (Yssa) on cello; Hudson Averill on drums)

"The band formed in early 2022, and we played our first show in February. Everyone in the band is a very talented musician, and involved in other areas of music and performance as well. I’m super lucky to have collaborated with them as I was developing my songwriting and to play with them every once in a while now."

How are your songs and the creative process with the band different from your solo work?

"With all of my music, both solo and Gritties, I write most of the bones of the songs on my own on guitar or piano. When I bring a demo to the band, it usually sounds like one of my solo songs- kind of folksy and singer-songwriter adjacent, but everyone in the band then brings their own influences to it, whether that be hardcore, surf punk, theater, jazz, etc. So even though I write most of the melodies and lyrics of the Gritties songs, they transform through collaboration, and I think that’s a really fun process. And even with my solo stuff, there are lots of elements of collaboration through working with a producer. When I recorded my EP with my friend Starlin, he also brought a lot of ideas to the way each song could be transformed and finished."

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in music?

"I’m really lucky to come from a very musical family, so I grew up with my parents both singing all the time. My Yaya (grandmother) is a musician as well. They definitely saw my interest in and propensity for music early on, and put me in violin lessons and the Pensacola Children’s Chorus. All of these gifts from my family led me to be able to pick up guitar and start writing my own music in my sophomore year of high school."

Tori spends most of her time in Tallahassee these days and members of the band are scattered around the southeast but they all came together Sunday night for an excellent (I'm gonna' call it Power-Pop) show at The Handlebar. The band seems to love playing together and the crowd was feeding on the positive energy. 

Be on the lookout for some solo shows from Tori in Tallahassee in the near future. As you can hear here, there’s more of a dreamy folk-pop feel to the solo work which I love.