LAURA LOVE--SHE’S BACK!
After taking nearly a decade off the festival/touring circuit, to live off grid, grow her own food, and raise her daughter, Laura is again returning to the stage to continue where she left off. She felt “compelled to get back on the road, reach out to other human beings, spread kindness and try to heal,” from what she has described as a “savage couple of years” which left her battling to recover from a brutal assault, followed by the sudden suicide of her beloved sister, Lisa. To that end, she exploded back onto the festival scene in 2017, taking the Kate Wolf, Strawberry, Valhalla and Philadelphia Folk Music Festivals by storm. With these powerful performances she and her stellar guitarist, Terry Hunt, showcased a whole new batch of songs that left audiences leaping to their feet, mid-set and some concert-goers telling her “she was even better than she’d been years ago.” She has expanded her story-rich, socially conscious repertoire to include Field Hollers, Civil Rights Era Songs and Gospel music into her deep catalogue of original songs. Laura is currently recording a new CD of original songs which will be released Late Winter/early Spring of 2018.
In addition to her musical accomplishments, Love wrote a harrowing but hopeful memoir, which was published by Hyperion Books in 2004. You Ain’t Got No Easter Clothes chronicles her chaotic childhood with a suicidal and schizophrenic single mother. When her mother was confined to mental institutions, Love and her sister bounced around living in orphanages, foster homes, convents, and homeless shelters. Their biological father – jazz saxophonist Preston Love who worked with the Count Basie Orchestra, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, and Ray Charles – was not present in Laura’s life, busy with his career and his wife and five other children. Although wrenching, the tale of survival is laced with Love’s trademark wit. Just to make it interesting, Laura has also recently published a new follow up book, (available on Amazon.com) to her critically acclaimed 2004 Hyperion memoir--this one about her year of traveling with the Occupy Movement in 2011. It’s called, “Nights in Tents” and we hope you’ll pick it up today because, as she often says, “It’s a GAS!”.
Take a look at some press Laura has received during her career:
“(LAURA LOVE) will shake the world. The clincher is her live show...She’s that rare artist who can slip from sensitive folk to hip-hop without skipping a beat.” -Utne Reader
MEDIA, fans and record labels have struggled to define this inimitable musician’s colorful style, which embraces bits of the blues, bluegrass, jazz, folk, gospel, reggae, and country. However, Laura Love has sometimes called her music “Folk-Funk,” “Afro-Celtic,” or “Hip-Alachian.” Regardless of how she is described, Laura has an indisputable and uncanny knack for enthralling audiences from all walks of life, from octogenarians who line up to hear straight-ahead bluegrass to the pierced-and-tattooed set to their middle-aged parents.
THE NEW YORK TIMES proclaimed, “Her music is exuberant. ...She conveyed the fervor of someone reaching out with an almost frenzied joy to seize the strand of a confusing life and weave them into a coherent, life-affirming vision.” Love has been called, “startlingly original” by Billboard magazine. “Her music is spare, yet striking. Her voice is ripe, supple, strong, and impossible to ignore.” A rare recording artist who is authentic and deeply rooted, Love exhibits timeless and diverse appeal. Droves of fans throughout North America, Australia, and Europe apparently agree. Her CDs have repeatedly made Billboard’s annual Top 10 lists. She has played for massive crowds at various festivals and venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, Royce Hall in Los Angeles, Washington Center for the Arts in Olympia, and the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon. Her festival appearances include the Newport Folk Festival (RI), Telluride Bluegrass Festival (CO), Strawberry Festival (CA), Merlefest (NC), Kate Wolf Festival (CA), Falcon Ridge (NY), Boston Folk Festival, Women in e-Motion (Germany), Philadelphia Folk Festival, Port Fairy, Brunswick, Blue Mountain and Adelaide Fringe Festivals (Australia), and nearly every music festival in Canada, including Montreal Jazz and the Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Mariposa and Winnipeg folk festivals.
After releasing five independently produced CDs from 1990 - 1995, Laura spent a decade working with major and boutique record labels. Her Mercury/Universal releases, co-produced with multi-Grammy award winner Joe Chicarelli, were critically acclaimed and increased her sales from 2,000 a year to 60,000 a year, but alas, highly diverse and unique artists are not easily marketed above ground and Laura was lost in the corporate shuffle of the big leagues. She was perfectly happy to be dropped from Mercury after her second album with them and move on to smaller labels more suited to her values and aesthetic. Laura released four CDs from 2000 - 2005 on Rounder/Zoe and Koch.
By 2007, Laura had grown increasingly alarmed at the regression of race relations in the U.S. and decided it was time to return to her roots as a light-skinned African American girl, growing up during the 1960’s at the very height of the Civil Rights Movement. She assembled a quartet called, HARPER’S FERRY and resurrected her old label, Octoroon Biography to release NeGrass (pronounced “NEE-Grass), her bold collaboration with Grammy and IBMA award winners Tim O’Brien, Tracy Nelson, Rob Ickes, Scott Vestal, Jeff Autry and Mike Bub. NeGrass was named the Best CD of 2007 in the Alt Country category by the Indie Acoustic Project.
In the fall of 2009, Laura released her 11th CD on Octoroon Biography/OJM records titled The Sweeter The Juice - a collaboration with an acknowledged master of country blues guitar and dobro, Orville Johnson. On this record, Laura cements her new focus on social issues, race relations in America and her own family’s experiences, dating all the way back to slavery.