Laura Cantrell, Live at The Brudenell
Fri Jun 23 2023 at 07:30 pm to 11:00 pm
Brudenell Social Club | Leeds, EN
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+ Doug Levitt
23.06.2023 | £20.00 ADVANCE (+stbf) | 19:30 Doors
After a nine-year hiatus, Laura Cantrell, a long-beloved presence in the U.S. and international Americana & Roots music scene, is back with a new studio album Just Like A Rose: The Anniversary Sessions. Set to be released on June 9, 2023 on the Propeller Sound Recordings label, the album features turns from Laura’s longtime friends Steve Earle, Buddy Miller, Rosie Flores and Paul Burch, and was produced variously by Don Fleming (Sonic Youth/Teenage Fanclub), David Mansfield (Bob Dylan, T-Bone Burnett), Rosie Flores (Wanda Jackson, Janis Martin) with Ed Stasium (Talking Heads, Ramones), and Paul Burch (Lambchop, Ralph Stanley), and features musicians Mark Spencer (Son Volt, Lisa Loeb), Jeremy Chatzky (Ronnie Spector, Bruce Springsteen), Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart's Fabulous Superlatives), Fats Kaplan (John Prine, Jack White), Dennis Crouch (Robert Plant, Diana Krall), and Jen Gunderman (Sheryl Crow, Jayhawks). Co-writers on the album include Mark Winchester (Randy Travis, Carlene Carter), Fred Wilhelm (Rascal Flats, Faith Hill), Gary Burr (Patty Loveless, Ringo Starr) and others.
Although the album was originally intended to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Cantrell's debut album in 2020, recording was delayed due to covid restrictions. The new collection was completed in studios located in both the New York City area and Nashville.
"I thought I had figured it all out!" Cantrell muses, as she describes her initial puzzlement in 2019 at how to acknowledge the approaching 20th anniversary of her first album. “I wanted to salute different aspects of my music life for the last two decades, to create more of a celebration than a traditional album. The idea of recording and releasing a series of singles in real time was intriguing, so I started a crowd funding campaign and launched it," Cantrell leans in for emphasis, "on March 1, 2020.” Within days the world was a very different place, and Cantrell placed her plans on hold while the pandemic raged in her neighborhood in Jackson Heights, NY and throughout the world. Slowly and fitfully she pushed on while restrictions and delays changed the timeline and shape of her plans. “We moved so slowly I thought ‘this isn’t even happening!’ But with the help of many great 'music people' the songs emerged. There was a risk working with different producers that the results would feel disjointed, but I love where the album landed. Having come through the gauntlet of the pandemic, I felt so much joy in the process, I hope people hear and feel that in the tracks themselves.”
The material spans Cantrell's most recent songwriting and songs she's been humming to herself since before she'd had her own band or played her own shows. "It is interesting maturing into your musical worldview, you still have songs that hit you like you're a teenager with your first crush, and others that reflect more experience and nuance, or frustration with tough realities, and then those you just love purely as music – there's a bit of it all on this album."
Since 2000, Cantrell has released albums "Not the Tremblin' Kind," "When The Roses Bloom Again," "Humming By The Flowered Vine," "Kitty Wells Dresses: Songs of the Queen of Country Music," "No Way There From Here," and "The BBC Sessions." She has toured extensively in the US, UK and Ireland, and was a favorite of pioneering British DJ John Peel, who called her first album, "Not the Tremblin' Kind," "my favorite record of the last ten years, and possibly my life." Cantrell recorded several Peel Sessions for the BBC from 2000-2004 and appeared on the first Peel Day program on Radio One commemorating the first anniversary of Peel's death.
Cantrell's music has been celebrated in the press, including features in the New York Times, "O" Magazine, Elle, the Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times of London, and Maverick Magazine. Cantrell's music has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," "On Point" and "Weekend Edition," and the BBC's "Women's Hour." She has performed on "A Prairie Home Companion," "Mountain Stage," and the "Grand Old Opry," and appeared on the television programs "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," and BBC One's "The Andrew Marr Show." She is currently the host of "Dark Horse Radio," SiriusXM's program about George Harrison that runs on The Beatles Channel, and "States of Country" on the streaming
(New York, NY) Doug Levitt, who has travelled more than 12 years and 120,000 Greyhound bus miles writing songs about fellow travellers, has announced his debut full-length album, Edge of Everywhere, to be released on March 3. Today, Levitt has also shared its anthemic title track, which fans can now stream here. Americana Highways recently praised “Edge of Everywhere,” saying, “Bright acoustic strings and soul searching lyrics earmark Doug Levitt’s music as the reflective, sorrowful catharsis we all need this season.”
Produced by multiple Grammy Award-winner Trina Shoemaker, the producer/engineer behind albums by Brandi Carlile, Josh Ritter, Sheryl Crow and Emmylou Harris, the album is drawn from Levitt’s travels by Greyhound bus and tells the tales of the folks he met along the way. “Our stories are where we meet.” Levitt says, “They are the crossroads of human experience.
Greyhound bus is the cheapest means of travel in the US and largely serves the poorest in the community. Inspired by Depression-era projects like that of Woody Guthrie and conscious of the increasingly deep inequalities within the country, Levitt has travelled to every single state in the continental US by Greyhound, and through these songs, is giving voice to those on the margins who often go unheard.
"Edge of Everywhere” is, as he puts it, a kind of “anthem from the edge,” a song about grit and defiance in the face of struggle and disparity. It’s inspired by Brenda, a graying woman who lost her job and home years back and is reflecting on the (metaphorical) hills and valley of LA, while pulling into her sprawling hometown.
“Living on the edge is a binding force on the bus,” Levitt says, “one that transcends any other differences in race, politics or culture.”
With a bourbon-rich baritone and a range that reaches the resonant heights of a falsetto at times recalling Cat Stevens, Levitt brings the listener along on a transcendental trip in which we are all travellers on a bus writ large.
“More than just a record,” Shoemaker, who has won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association, says, “these songs capture the essence of the broader project (including BBC documentaries), which tell the story of America through the eyes of people who don't usually get a chance to tell their stories. And certainly not with poetry and grace, with respect and beauty, and somehow Doug really was able to. He is one of the best singer-songwriters I’ve heard in the last decade or more.”
Following the success of a BBC World Service documentary in 2018 (listening link here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csy0ww), two further BBC radio and TV documentaries (for the UK and the world) about Levitt’s Greyhound journeys are planned for 2023. Both will feature excerpts of songs from Edge of Everywhere. More details to come.
Perhaps it was suffering tragedy as a young person which made Levitt so receptive to other people’s stories. When he was 16, he found his father dead by suicide. For years, he says, he couldn't cry and turned to music as an outlet. But before using that music to reflect the journeys of others, he set out on his own, first at Cornell, where he studied Critical Thinking with Carl Sagan, and then as a London-based foreign correspondent for CNN and ABC filing dispatches from such places as Iran, Rwanda, Bosnia and Gaza. “At some point, in the midst of a breakdown, I realized if I didn't commit fully to music now, I wasn't going to do it. And I was afraid that if I didn't, if I didn't follow my instincts, that I would end up suffering a familiar fate.”
He followed those instincts to Music City, USA. Not long after moving to Nashville, Levitt set out on his first Greyhound bus tour, with nothing but an initial six-week bus pass, a Gibson J-100, a copy of Woody Guthrie’s Bound for Glory, a country to cross and an American story to tell — one about life from the margins in.
“The bus, of course, travels through the edge of so many quote nowheres, the very nowheres from which so many people who travel by bus come,” he says.
More than 120,000 Greyhound miles on from that first tour — with stops along the way playing in everything from prisons, VAs, and shelters to the Kennedy Center, Woody Guthrie Center, and Martin Luther King’s church — have all culmintated in the lush, expansive and moving opus that is Edge of Everywhere, a testament-in-song to belonging and connection in the face of uncertainty.
Where is it happening?Brudenell Social Club, 33 Queens Road,Leeds, United Kingdom
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