Category: Laura Cortese

Take It Easy: California Coverfolk
with covers of The Doors, Sublime, Dawes, Jane’s Addiction & more!

April 23rd, 2017 — 9:50pm


We’re just back from Spring Break in and around Los Angeles, where the weather was fine, indeed, after months of cold rain and thaw in our chosen home New England. When we left the garden was just buds bulging on the tips of the first green stems; California, by contrast, was in full bloom, thanks to an unusually rainy winter, and we were grateful, indeed, to find the world sunny and hot in the late mornings and afternoons, and just cool enough in the evening to keep from shivering in our shirtsleeves.

My students think LA is exotic; I thought I knew better, having been several times in the past couple of decades, both times as the first stop in a meandering drive up the coast towards San Francisco and Oregon. But this time around, we came to settle in, with an Air B&B house in the canyons, on a suburban settlement down the street from my father’s first cousin, and I think we did it right by avoiding the city. Exquisite lunches on the beach and the Malibu pier; venison steak up in the hills at an authentic 150 year old stage coach stop surrounded by bikers and the warm amplified sounds of an amateur cover artist; mornings at the zoos, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the sprawling gardens of Pasadena; lunch on the beaches and piers, and a shot at the steampunk thrift shops in Ventura; Harry Potter World on a Tuesday, and a final Friday afternoon hot and high in the desert hills at the Wolf Connections sanctuary, surrounded by the scrub of an alien landscape.

At home, the mailbag bulges with promise and the hint of summer releases. Tomorrow, the workweek begins anew, with the usual stresses and strain of the impending summer; lesson plans and grading have taken me to this afternoon, providing but little respite to write here. But here on the porch in the afternoon sun, the daffodils blooming at my feet, it’s hard not to want to just soak in the sunshine, with a bank of light coverfolk as the soundtrack to our last remaining hours.

And so we return to our Vacation Coverfolk series on the eve of the ever-intruding real world with a last gasp at Los Angeles through the songs of cross-continental coverage: a whole universe of folk artists taking on a chronology of songs penned and originally performed by bands and artists born, bred, or discovered in and around the city of angels. May they bring Spring softly, planting the surf, the sand, the hills, and the boulevards in the rich new soil of your own sunshine dreams.

L.A. Coverfolk: A Cover Lay Down Mix [zip!]

Comment » | Clem Snide, Laura Cortese, Vacation Coverfolk

Laura Cortese Moves Into The Dark
with exclusive covers of Laura Veirs, Emmylou Harris, and more!

April 23rd, 2013 — 6:49pm

Although she’s only been recording for a decade, Boston-based fiddler, singer-songwriter, Berklee College of Music graduate and Boston Celtic Music Fest co-founder Laura Cortese has earned our respect and fandom dozens of times over, thanks to vibrant, voracious, and versatile output we described back in 2011 as “grounded in the lush, joyous, gleeful sound of the collaborative at work and play, and built around Cortese‚Äôs full-bodied, percussive, lusty fiddlework, her hearty yet oh-so-feminine vocals, and her playful, surprisingly deep songwriting.”

Indeed, one of Cortese’s great strengths as an artist is her willingness to build each new project from the ground up, letting each incidence find its own voice anew, with partners or in solo guise. As such, Cortese’s solo work, and her legendary collaborations with Jefferson Hamer, indietrad stars Aoife O’Donovan and Sam Amidon, pubfolk band Session Americana, Michael Franti, Pete Seeger, and numerous fellow fiddlefolk have run the gamut from sparse singer-songwriter to full-bore tradfolk, modern folk rock and folkpop, and chamberfolk, making for a surprisingly diverse canon for such a young musician.

Cortese’s newest project Into The Dark, which drops today, finds her performing and touring under her own name with a chamberfolk trio of equally adept stringplayers – cellist Natalie Haas, and Brittany Haas and Mariel Vandersteel on fiddles – plus plenty of special guests, and the results are sublime: hearty vocals over rich, poppy layers of fiddlefolk, kickdrums, and harmony that make the heart sing and the feet ache to move, with a contemporary mix of traditional, classical, and indie elements that speak to Cortese’s easy confidence at the crossroads of what modern folk is, and can be, at its best. Her promotional tour will take her from coast to coast over the next few months, with shows in NY, VT, ME & MA in the week ahead, and I’m thrilled to note that it will include a stop this Friday in The Parlor Room, a hip, intimate folkvenue recently established by Signature Sounds founder Jim Olsen in the heart of Northampton, with tickets still available as of presstime.

Here’s a pair of exclusive tracks to whet your whistle for the tour and album – a Laura Veirs cover from Into The Dark, and another trickle from that secret Kickstarter covers EP granted to a hardy few who gave to make her last album happen – plus a few previously-posted favorites to remind us of just why Laura Cortese remains atop our list of perennial favorites here at Cover Lay Down. Check ’em out, hit up Laura’s website for tour dates, and purchase Into The Dark today.

1 comment » | Featured Artists, Laura Cortese, Tidbit Tuesday

Back to top