Sick Riffs: Lydia Loveless teaches you the chorus-bathed clean lines of When You're Gone

Sick Riffs #139: The four years following Boy Crazy and Single(s) were defined by turbulence and upheaval for Lydia Loveless. The Ohio singer-songwriter weathered both a divorce and an interstate move away from her longtime home, and she lays it all out on the table on her latest full-length, Daughter.

A shining example of turning tribulation into triumph, the 10-track LP condenses all of Loveless's musical sensibilities into an exhibition of stellar melodies and poignant vocal performances.

While the entire record shines a light on her six-string abilities, its eighth track When You're Gone places them at the forefront. Commencing with a chorus-drenched major arpeggio, it's hard not to be swept up in the song's wistful soundscape.

Loveless joins us in today's episode of Sick Riffs to teach you the track in full. This one's not too demanding either skill- or gear-wise: all you need is a capo and a guitar tuned to E standard.

She plays a Fender Telecaster electric guitar through a JHS Space Commander reverb/chorus/boost pedal and a Boss RC-30 looper pedal.

On the inspiration for the album, Loveless explains, “I felt frustrated with myself for going straight from my tumultuous teen years into a marriage so that I could feel safe, and right when I was getting out of the situation, people around me were settling down and having kids. I felt lost and inexperienced.” 

She continues, “Many men were coming around to feminism because they had just had a daughter. I’d see billboards on the side of the road imploring people not to hurt women because they were somebody’s daughter or sister or mother.”

Support Lydia Loveless

Sick Riffs is a Guitar World video series designed to help guitarists affected by the coronavirus. Self-isolating players around the world have each filmed a lesson where they teach you one of their own guitar riffs, up close and personal. If you dig the lesson, we encourage you to buy music and merch from the artist or stream their music.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.