Laura Jane Vincent
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Laura Jane Vincent

Glendon, NC | Established. Jan 01, 1982 | SELF

Glendon, NC | SELF
Established on Jan, 1982
Band Folk Rock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Mar
03
Laura Jane Vincent @ Recreation Billiards

Winston-Salem, NC

Winston-Salem, NC

Feb
24
Laura Jane Vincent @ The Tattooed Moose

Charleston, NC

Charleston, NC

Feb
19
Laura Jane Vincent @ Altamont Brewing Co

Asheville, NC

Asheville, NC

Music

Press


by Jordan Green

The marquee lamp gleamed from the Garage, the diminutive cinderblock music club in Winston-Salem that takes its name from a former life, as the city lights blinked in the chilly winter landscape of the foothills city.
It was Sunday night, and the crowds of diners, shoppers and partiers that typically throng Trade Street on Fridays and Saturdays had dissipated, giving the scene a sense of stillness and serenity.
Inside, Laura Jane Vincent sat in a booth along the wall next to the stage, a small suitcase propped open, her vinyl records on display and Christmas lights draped along the rim to illuminate her wares. Dave Tippetts, Vincent’s husband and drummer, sat in the next booth biding time. Emily Stewart and Matty Sheets, who perform together in a number of configurations, hovered nearby.
The Winston-Salem date followed an appearance by the two acts in Asheville the night before, but with Stewart and Sheets performing in the larger ensemble Emily Stewart & the Baby Teeth. Vincent had opened for Judy Barnes with a packed house at the Garage before, and co-owner Tucker Tharpe hoped that her previous appearance would ensure a crowd. Stewart has strong local ties as co-owner of the Breathing Room yoga studio at West End Mill Works. Otherwise, the talent cohort is firmly based in Greensboro, and it looked like they might not draw a Winston-Salem crowd on this off night.
Vincent, a folk troubadour, and Tippetts, a metal guitar player, were previously based in Charleston, SC. They moved to Asheville, and then, about three years ago, to Greensboro. Tippetts taught himself how to play drums at around the same time, debuting in a David Bowie cover band. His drumming eventually found a place in Vincent’s music act, accenting her poignant song-stories about hard-luck travelers delivered with a soaring voice and ringing acoustic guitar.
Stewart and Sheets have been playing together for years, Stewart with a supporting role in Sheets’ band the Blockheads and Sheets returning the favor in the Baby Teeth. Magpie Thief, their billing as a duo, is a kind of a “lean and mean version” streamlined for the road, Stewart said.
Magpie Thief strips down the sound of the larger ensembles that Sheets and Stewart usually work in, allowing for an intimate melding of their voices and primary instruments, respectively acoustic guitar and banjo, augmented by Sheets’ harmonica and tambourine playing.
The duo plowed into material mostly written by Sheets. He delivered songs about a house haunted by a suicide, bridge jumpers and eyeballs that resemble guns in earnest folk vocals barbed with a sardonic edge, warbling from country blues to deadpan alt-rock. Stewart’s swayback rhythms on banjo smartly matched Sheets’ slashing guitar chords.
Sheets’ vocal on “Dead Flowers” was even more dry than the original by Mick Jagger, and he interposed a rolling bass run that suggested a more ancient provenance to the 1971 Stones song. Harmonizing, Stewart’s voice rendered honey for Sheets’ sandpaper.
Singing lead, the clear moonshine of Stewart’s voice takes on more of a bent quality like a gnarled root searching for the water table, as it did on “These Years,” a meditation on forgiveness. Returning the favor, Sheets provided a low growl as vocal harmony.
Laura Jane Vincent sounds like a full band. (photos by Daniel Bayer)
Laura Jane Vincent sounds like a full band. (photos by Daniel Bayer)
Seated at a bar table near the stage with her husband, Vincent murmured, “This song makes me cry.”
In school-night fashion, the sets moved along briskly. Leading into Magpie Thief’s final number, Sheets said, “We’ve got one more song, and then Laura Jane Vincent and Dave are gonna come up and rock your face.”
Vincent nodded approvingly.
“Moderately rock your face,” she said.
Making ample use of a capo, Vincent coaxed a big sound from her acoustic guitar that combined ringing melodies and driving rhythm. Laden with frank desire and rueful declaration, Vincent’s voice is forceful without being forced, suggesting that she could comfortably front a full band. Rich and full, her sound references Neko Case’s more folky repertoire, and — reaching back to the ’80s — Natalie Merchant and the Indigo Girls.
Tippetts’ rolling drum style somehow suggests the British invasion sound of the mid-’60s, giving his wife’s music a propulsive magnetism.
Vincent leavened the hard edge of the stories behind many of the songs in her repertoire with a quick sense of humor. Introducing a song called “No Shame” about a naïve girl from Georgia who chases an ill-conceived dream of fame in the film industry to its bitter conclusion, Vincent quipped about the title: “That’s a good life philosophy.”
Vincent’s set drew liberally from her 2013 album For a Sweetheart from the South, recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, with a smattering of newer, as-yet unrecorded songs that point to bold, new directions. Case in point: “Hold Your Ground,” a fierce protest song about a Texas murder acquitted by a sexist justification of self-defense that cleverly puts Tippetts’ rat-a-tat-tat drumming into service.
Well before midnight, the couple wrapped up their set to appreciative clapping from their fellow musicians, a handful of people at the bar and a couple seated in a booth near the stage. Tippetts packed up his drums and headed for the parking lot, preparing for a 6 a.m. shift.
“My husband is all business,” Vincent said, “while I’m living the dream.” - Triad City Beat


Laura Jane Vincent
Great live music to check out this week
Posted by Sam Spence on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 4:26 PM
FOLK | Laura Jane Vincent
w/ The Silver Bells
Wed. Dec. 10
10 p.m.
$5
Tin Roof

Laura Jane Vincent recently took the plunge that strikes fear in the hearts of most wannabe musicians. She decided to leave her day job behind and focus all her efforts on making a living as a musician. “I feel that at this point in my life, I have the tools, knowledge, resources, and, most importantly, the motivation to play music full-time and focus every bit of my energy on doing it how I want and doing it well,” says Vincent. “I’ll completely admit I was afraid to give up a steady paycheck and comfort of a day job before, but I’m not anymore.” Since the decision, Vincent has been touring the East Coast singing her folk songs on the human condition and the defeats/victories that come with life. She’s living the life that most bedroom songwriters can only dream about. “I’m traveling as much as I can, writing and developing some new songs, and I hope to make and save up enough money to get back into the studio to make a new album this coming year,” says Vincent. “I would love to release the next album in December of 2015, but I’ve got a lot of things to accomplish before then, so here’s hoping.” —J. Chapa WEDNESDAY - Charleston City Paper


For an artist whose music tends to be more on the relaxed end of the spectrum, it's surprising to hear how quickly Laura Jane Vincent and her band were able to create her debut record, For a Sweetheart from the South.

"We ended up doing it in about two days," Vincent says. "We wanted to do it quickly because the musicians lived in different places, and we were all coming together just for this weekend to make the record."

But while the process only took place over the course of one weekend, getting to that point is not something Vincent rushed into. In fact, it took her well over a decade to decide to record an album — and for good reason.

"I'm 30 years old now, and I've been performing in front of other people as a serious, guitar-playing singer-songwriter since I was about 15," says Vincent. "And of course when you're on stage at 15 years old, you're a horrible, sweaty, nervous mess! It's awful!"

Fortunately, despite those early struggles, not to mention the anxiety she felt performing personal songs in front of other people, Vincent grew more comfortable as time went on.

"At first you're just terrified because you think everyone thinks a song is about them," Vincent confesses. "It's very scary. But the more I did it, the more confident I got."

That confidence shines through on Sweetheart, as Vincent fills the album with tales of everyday people looking to maintain their sense of humanity despite the struggles they encounter. Sometimes they aren't strong enough in the end, as the protagonist in the mid-tempo country track "Warfare" proves, but at least they don't go down without a fight. And sometimes, as the more hopeful folk rock song "Believer" suggests, people have the power to make you believe that love is really worth it.

Vincent's laid-back delivery has a way of keeping the album on an even keel despite the many ups and downs the LP explores. At times the record seems autobiographical in its recollections, as though coming from someone who has benefited from time and hindsight. But this is not simply a series of musical journal entries.

"A lot of things I write come out of experiences I have had," says Vincent, "but I also hear stories from other people, and I try to put myself in a first-person narrative when writing a song about that. I like to put myself in the character's place, so that's why it tends to come across as autobiographical sometimes when it really isn't."

Vincent's ability to make every song seem autobiographical is both a testament to her songwriting ability and the passion she has for her music, even if she doesn't express that passion by belting out her vocals left and right. God knows she could do that with these sometimes wistful, lonesome songs and be justified in her decision. And of course, there is always a danger in laying your work out there for all to see because once you do that, anybody can interpret the material however they please.

"It's always risky," Vincent admits with a laugh. "For example, I play in this band with my boyfriend [drummer Dave Tippetts], so I would never want him to think, if I'm writing this very angry song, that it's about him. But thankfully he's also a musician, so he never takes it personally. With my songs, it's not one of those things where anybody could say, 'Oh yeah, she was telling me that story last night. I know who that one's about.'"

Taking time to get ready to make this record has paid great dividends for Vincent. It helped her get to a place where she was finally ready to share her music with the world.

"It took me so long to actually put something out because mentally I had to figure out whether I thought I was ready to support a product and say, 'This is me. This is what I want to do. This is something I want to ask all my friends and family and all you people to continue to pay money to see me do,'" Vincent says. "Then I finally realized, 'You know what? It's been this long, so I'm just going to put these songs out, be proud of them, and that's how it's going to go.'"

For Vincent, creating songs is more than just about expression. Music fascinates her, especially because of its ever-changing nature, and as long as that continues to be the case, music will continue to call out to her.

"There's always a way to get better," says Vincent. "You're never done. No song is ever finished. You can think you are done with a song and put it on a record, but then realize you're not done with it. You can take that song, play it a hundred different ways on a hundred nights in a hundred different venues, and it still means something to you."

Tags: Laura Jane Vincent, The Moon and You, The Tin Roof
Location

Best Of Staff Pick The Tin Roof
1117 Magnolia Road
WEST ASHLEY
(based on 11 user reviews) - Charleston city paper


Laura Jane Vincent gets personal but not-so autobiographical on her debut disc


Provided
There once was a time when Laura Jane Vincent was a horrible, sweaty, nervous mess on stage, but not anymore
For an artist whose music tends to be more on the relaxed end of the spectrum, it's surprising to hear how quickly Laura Jane Vincent and her band were able to create her debut record, For a Sweetheart from the South.

"We ended up doing it in about two days," Vincent says. "We wanted to do it quickly because the musicians lived in different places, and we were all coming together just for this weekend to make the record."

But while the process only took place over the course of one weekend, getting to that point is not something Vincent rushed into. In fact, it took her well over a decade to decide to record an album — and for good reason.

"I'm 30 years old now, and I've been performing in front of other people as a serious, guitar-playing singer-songwriter since I was about 15," says Vincent. "And of course when you're on stage at 15 years old, you're a horrible, sweaty, nervous mess! It's awful!"

Fortunately, despite those early struggles, not to mention the anxiety she felt performing personal songs in front of other people, Vincent grew more comfortable as time went on.

"At first you're just terrified because you think everyone thinks a song is about them," Vincent confesses. "It's very scary. But the more I did it, the more confident I got."

That confidence shines through on Sweetheart, as Vincent fills the album with tales of everyday people looking to maintain their sense of humanity despite the struggles they encounter. Sometimes they aren't strong enough in the end, as the protagonist in the mid-tempo country track "Warfare" proves, but at least they don't go down without a fight. And sometimes, as the more hopeful folk rock song "Believer" suggests, people have the power to make you believe that love is really worth it.

Vincent's laid-back delivery has a way of keeping the album on an even keel despite the many ups and downs the LP explores. At times the record seems autobiographical in its recollections, as though coming from someone who has benefited from time and hindsight. But this is not simply a series of musical journal entries.

"A lot of things I write come out of experiences I have had," says Vincent, "but I also hear stories from other people, and I try to put myself in a first-person narrative when writing a song about that. I like to put myself in the character's place, so that's why it tends to come across as autobiographical sometimes when it really isn't."

Vincent's ability to make every song seem autobiographical is both a testament to her songwriting ability and the passion she has for her music, even if she doesn't express that passion by belting out her vocals left and right. God knows she could do that with these sometimes wistful, lonesome songs and be justified in her decision. And of course, there is always a danger in laying your work out there for all to see because once you do that, anybody can interpret the material however they please.

"It's always risky," Vincent admits with a laugh. "For example, I play in this band with my boyfriend [drummer Dave Tippetts], so I would never want him to think, if I'm writing this very angry song, that it's about him. But thankfully he's also a musician, so he never takes it personally. With my songs, it's not one of those things where anybody could say, 'Oh yeah, she was telling me that story last night. I know who that one's about.'"

Taking time to get ready to make this record has paid great dividends for Vincent. It helped her get to a place where she was finally ready to share her music with the world.

"It took me so long to actually put something out because mentally I had to figure out whether I thought I was ready to support a product and say, 'This is me. This is what I want to do. This is something I want to ask all my friends and family and all you people to continue to pay money to see me do,'" Vincent says. "Then I finally realized, 'You know what? It's been this long, so I'm just going to put these songs out, be proud of them, and that's how it's going to go.'"

For Vincent, creating songs is more than just about expression. Music fascinates her, especially because of its ever-changing nature, and as long as that continues to be the case, music will continue to call out to her.

"There's always a way to get better," says Vincent. "You're never done. No song is ever finished. You can think you are done with a song and put it on a record, but then realize you're not done with it. You can take that song, play it a hundred different ways on a hundred nights in a hundred different venues, and it still means something to you." - Charleston City Paper


Laura Jane Vincent Finds Her True Carolina Voice On Her Latest LP
If indie/Americana singer/songwriter Laura Jane Vincent was a quiet, grinning character on the inside edges of the Charleston band scene in late 2000s, she’s certainly bolder and more confident as a recording artist, bandleader, and vocalist these days.

A native of North Carolina, Vncent spent several years in the Charleston area before heading back to the Tarheel State in 2010. She’s currently based in Greensboro, and she has several version of her full band situated in several key locations.

Vincent will return to her old Charleston stomping ground this week for a show at the Tin Roof on Thurs. Oct. 3 in support of her new studio album For a Sweetheart from the South. She took some time to chat about the album and her bandmates with Metronome Charleston earlier this week.


Laura Jane Vincent (provided)
Metronome Charleston: As a songwriter and musician, how would you sum up your experience back in your home state of N.C. since heading back there in 2010?

Laura Jane Vincent: Coming back to North Carolina has been a wonderful experience because it was on my terms. I wasn’t pushed back here for lack of money or options. It just seemed like the right place at the right time. North Carolina’s environment, culture, people, and style has obviously influenced my songwriting, and I hope that I reflect the people and stories of this state in my music and represent them well. Though Charleston will always have this huge and beautiful — albeit thoroughly worn but wiser — piece of my heart, rural N.C. is my home. I left Charleston in late 2010, and after hiding in the mountains of Asheville for about a year and half, we made it to the Triad around April 2012.

Metronome Charleston: Did you have a specific artistic goal in mind when you landed in Greensboro — any plans to record, perform, or write?

Laura Jane Vincent: I had been hearing from many friends in Greensboro about the music scene here, and they weren’t kidding. So many talented bands, of many different genres, all with welcoming arms and space to share on their stages for a returning lady like me. The goal was simple: get to Greensboro, get settled in, get our money straight, and get our act together. Quite literally, Greensboro was a chance for [drummer] Dave Tippetts and I to get ourselves lined up with each other musically and somehow form it into a cohesive working unit. We come from very different backgrounds in our lives and musically, so we needed time to breath, and listen, and learn from each other. Then the natural goal after that was to perform as many gigs as possible, save every single penny and put it toward a real, professional recording effort.

We played about 35-40 local and regional shows the first 11 months we were here, and though it was hard to not spend the money and reap the rewards of our growing efforts — especially when we’d visit cool new cities — we stuck to it. We were able to record this album completely on our own, without crowd funding or label support … not that we’re against Kickstarter or any of the suits in the biz, but we didn’t think we had the widespread net to seek out donations from people. We wanted to have a proper tool to sell ourselves with before we reached out to ask for a growing pool of fans to kick us some extra chips. But we hope after touring in support of For a Sweetheart from the South for we can record our next effort with the support of a whole new network of friends.

Metronome Charleston: When and how did the songs for For a Sweetheart from the South start coming together? Did you collaborate with anyone on the arrangements or lyrics?

Laura Jane Vincent: Most of the songs were written between 2010 and 2013, with maybe one old standard or two stuck in there as well. To say I wrote them all on my own would almost misrepresent the work because, of course, I came to the table with words and chords and structure, but the musicians around me really made each song come alive and take on new sounds and shapes along the way. One of my favorite songs on the whole record is “Rivers,” which is a song I wrote with my friend and fellow musician from Charleston, Matthew Alexander. We’ve collaborated on a few songwriting efforts during our friendship, and I hope to do more. Our styles lend to each other nicely. His ideas push me outside the box, whereas mine seem to sometimes bring him back in for a soft landing in an otherwise spinning scenario. I think that’s my favorite part about writing a song with someone. You can’t always predict where it’s gonna go, and letting go of that control and hold is essential to growing with your writing.



Metronome Charleston: Tell us about the production of the new album at Echo Mountain. Did engineer Jon Ashley offer some heavy ideas and creative production guidance?

Laura Jane Vincent: I will never forget the amazing experience of Echo Mountain. We were mere babes in a basket whe - Metronome Charleston


Laura Jane Vincent Finds Her True Carolina Voice On Her Latest LP
If indie/Americana singer/songwriter Laura Jane Vincent was a quiet, grinning character on the inside edges of the Charleston band scene in late 2000s, she’s certainly bolder and more confident as a recording artist, bandleader, and vocalist these days.

A native of North Carolina, Vncent spent several years in the Charleston area before heading back to the Tarheel State in 2010. She’s currently based in Greensboro, and she has several version of her full band situated in several key locations.

Vincent will return to her old Charleston stomping ground this week for a show at the Tin Roof on Thurs. Oct. 3 in support of her new studio album For a Sweetheart from the South. She took some time to chat about the album and her bandmates with Metronome Charleston earlier this week.


Laura Jane Vincent (provided)
Metronome Charleston: As a songwriter and musician, how would you sum up your experience back in your home state of N.C. since heading back there in 2010?

Laura Jane Vincent: Coming back to North Carolina has been a wonderful experience because it was on my terms. I wasn’t pushed back here for lack of money or options. It just seemed like the right place at the right time. North Carolina’s environment, culture, people, and style has obviously influenced my songwriting, and I hope that I reflect the people and stories of this state in my music and represent them well. Though Charleston will always have this huge and beautiful — albeit thoroughly worn but wiser — piece of my heart, rural N.C. is my home. I left Charleston in late 2010, and after hiding in the mountains of Asheville for about a year and half, we made it to the Triad around April 2012.

Metronome Charleston: Did you have a specific artistic goal in mind when you landed in Greensboro — any plans to record, perform, or write?

Laura Jane Vincent: I had been hearing from many friends in Greensboro about the music scene here, and they weren’t kidding. So many talented bands, of many different genres, all with welcoming arms and space to share on their stages for a returning lady like me. The goal was simple: get to Greensboro, get settled in, get our money straight, and get our act together. Quite literally, Greensboro was a chance for [drummer] Dave Tippetts and I to get ourselves lined up with each other musically and somehow form it into a cohesive working unit. We come from very different backgrounds in our lives and musically, so we needed time to breath, and listen, and learn from each other. Then the natural goal after that was to perform as many gigs as possible, save every single penny and put it toward a real, professional recording effort.

We played about 35-40 local and regional shows the first 11 months we were here, and though it was hard to not spend the money and reap the rewards of our growing efforts — especially when we’d visit cool new cities — we stuck to it. We were able to record this album completely on our own, without crowd funding or label support … not that we’re against Kickstarter or any of the suits in the biz, but we didn’t think we had the widespread net to seek out donations from people. We wanted to have a proper tool to sell ourselves with before we reached out to ask for a growing pool of fans to kick us some extra chips. But we hope after touring in support of For a Sweetheart from the South for we can record our next effort with the support of a whole new network of friends.

Metronome Charleston: When and how did the songs for For a Sweetheart from the South start coming together? Did you collaborate with anyone on the arrangements or lyrics?

Laura Jane Vincent: Most of the songs were written between 2010 and 2013, with maybe one old standard or two stuck in there as well. To say I wrote them all on my own would almost misrepresent the work because, of course, I came to the table with words and chords and structure, but the musicians around me really made each song come alive and take on new sounds and shapes along the way. One of my favorite songs on the whole record is “Rivers,” which is a song I wrote with my friend and fellow musician from Charleston, Matthew Alexander. We’ve collaborated on a few songwriting efforts during our friendship, and I hope to do more. Our styles lend to each other nicely. His ideas push me outside the box, whereas mine seem to sometimes bring him back in for a soft landing in an otherwise spinning scenario. I think that’s my favorite part about writing a song with someone. You can’t always predict where it’s gonna go, and letting go of that control and hold is essential to growing with your writing.



Metronome Charleston: Tell us about the production of the new album at Echo Mountain. Did engineer Jon Ashley offer some heavy ideas and creative production guidance?

Laura Jane Vincent: I will never forget the amazing experience of Echo Mountain. We were mere babes in a basket whe - Metronome Charleston


live video shoot in isle of palms, sc - Balcony TV/The Music Initiative


A regular acoustic performer in the Charleston scene for years, Laura Jane Vincent relocated to the mountains of North Carolina last year to pursue various artistic endeavors. This week, the indie/Americana songwriter returns to town for a celebratory send-off show for one of her old bandmates, local musician Laura Zapp. Vincent’s Goddamn Band features the bandleader on guitar, Zapp on keys, Matty Alexander on drums, and Danny Infinger on bass. “Laura’s moving away to the big city of New York, and we’re throwing her a big shindig,” says Vincent “We’re performing originals, covers, and some of Laura’s original songs as well. It should be fantastic.” Zapp also plays keyboards with opening act Alswel. The costume-wearing Bobby Stardust, the Holy City’s “only Ziggy Stardust cover band,” will perform a set to open the night.
— T. Ballard Lesemann - Charleston City Paper


Indie/Americana singer/songwriter Laura Jane Vincent returns to her old hometown of Charleston for a CD release show at the Tin Roof on Sat. May 25. Vincent established herself as a folkie/popster in the Lowcountry scene in the late 2000s before heading up to Greensboro, N.C., and forming a duo with drummer Dave Tippetts. Her new album is titled For a sweetheart from the south. She’ll strum and croon through a set of originals at 10 p.m., opening for Megan Jean and the Klay Family Band (it’s also Megan Jean’s birthday, by the way). Admission is a cool five bucks. Check facebook.com/LauraJaneVincent? for more. - Metronome Charleston


Indie/Americana singer/songwriter Laura Jane Vincent returns to her old hometown of Charleston for a CD release show at the Tin Roof on Sat. May 25. Vincent established herself as a folkie/popster in the Lowcountry scene in the late 2000s before heading up to Greensboro, N.C., and forming a duo with drummer Dave Tippetts. Her new album is titled For a sweetheart from the south. She’ll strum and croon through a set of originals at 10 p.m., opening for Megan Jean and the Klay Family Band (it’s also Megan Jean’s birthday, by the way). Admission is a cool five bucks. Check facebook.com/LauraJaneVincent? for more. - Metronome Charleston


Laura Jane Vincent is a storyteller at heart. Her subject matter: the bewildering beauty of the rural Carolinas and the bewildering people who call the country home. "Female storytellers always caught my attention, in such a wide variety of genres, that I think they all hit me in some way, shape, or form," Vincent says. A Greensboro, N.C.-based singer and guitarist, Vincent normally tours with just Dave Tippets on drums, but for this week's Tin Roof show, the duo is bringing in Danny Infinger to play bass and Laura Zapp on keys. Vincent is touring in support of her recently recorded album, For a Sweetheart from the South. "It's just a collection of songs," Vincent humbly says of the new record. "All I really know is that it seems to be a lot of stories and songs about people who should know better or who just simply can't help themselves." —Brooks Brunson SATURDAY - Charleston City Paper


Lots of people talk about giving up their day jobs to follow their dreams, but it's typically easier said than done. But that's just what one-time Charlestonian and country-folk singer/songwriter Laura Jane Vincent did last year. Not that she didn't need a little push to help her decide.

"Last October, my day job did some restructuring and my position was eliminated," Vincent says. "And I had the option to do something else within the company or take a severance and run. All my life I've wanted to do music full-time, but I've been too scared to do it. And I felt like this was the universe telling me, 'This is a good opportunity.' So I decided to take the severance and devote all of my time and effort into playing music."

It's been nearly a year since Vincent made that decision, and she couldn't be happier. "It's been wonderful," she says. "Not just for writing and being more creative, but I feel like I used to have to split my brain down the middle. Half the time I'd be focusing on my creative side, and the other half was about trying to do my job well. I felt like I wasn't giving either of them the full benefit of what I could do. And since I left, I haven't had to turn down any opportunities. I've been able to go out further and longer; I've been able to get my name out there more. It's working, and it's going well. I played between 80 and 90 shows a year when I was working full-time, and now it's way above that."

Spending all her time as a musician has allowed Vincent to network with a community of musicians, and it's also given her the time to start thinking about her next album and how she wants to create it. Her most recent release, ...For a Sweetheart from the South, is over two years old and was recorded with her husband and drummer Dave Tippets.

"It was a wonderful experience doing that record. I'm very proud of it," Vincent says. "But as great as it was to go to Echo Mountain and record it, because it was a really nice studio and we had a wonderful producer, I learned that I don't necessarily have to do that for the next record. We recorded it live, we did it in two days, and we really wanted that live sound. We wanted it to sound like we were playing music in a room together. And in the networking with other musicians that this has allowed me to do, I've heard several other records that were made like that in people's houses or backyards, and the passion is still there. There's a lot to be said for that fancy studio feel, but there's also a lot to be said for making a record on your own and maybe taking a little more time to do it.

"It doesn't need to be rushed, and I don't need to spend that much money," Vincent continues. "I think that I can find the resources and the same amount of talent right around me in my network of people. I think that at the time I didn't have that network, and that was a big lesson for me to learn."

Vincent has no regrets about making her debut album the way that she did. "It taught me how to get a record done, and the logistics of what it really takes," she says. "I was a musician for 10 years before I did a record, so it was great to see how much work goes into an album and how much of a village it takes to really get it done. There's something to be said for a different experience for a different record, though."

Vincent made another big decision earlier in her career when she decided to form a musical partnership with her husband. But in that instance, she says neither had any hesitation about working with one another. "We started off as co-workers," she says, "so for the two of us, [working together] felt very natural. He came from a very different musical background. He played in a lot of metal bands, and he played guitar before he was a drummer. And when we first came together musically, we clashed a little. But it just took a few practices, and we knew that it was going to work. I wanted it to be a family business; I wanted to keep him with me as much as possible."

Tippets drumming style is unorthodox; he tends to follow and add percussive commentary to Vincent's guitar and vocal melodies rather than simply keeping time. "He came to the instrument later in his life, and he never had any formal lessons," Vincent says. "He really just jumped right in, and my music was the first that he tried drumming to. So I think that's why he follows me more than another drummer might. He really goes on vocal cues, and he wants to make sure that my voice and guitar are very loud in his monitor. We watch each other very closely onstage, and that's made us more confident as performers."

Given the intimate and confessional nature of Vincent's songs, she says that she sometimes has to fight the misconception that she's writing about her marriage. But she's quick to add that for his part, Tippets has never been concerned about that. "Sometimes as an artist, you're going outside of yourself, or to a memory, and Dave gets that," she says. "Sometimes you're taking an emotion and putting it into a song, and it's not necessarily about the fight we had last Friday. He's more like, 'This is a great song. Let's dive into it.' He's never once come to me and asked, 'Is this about me?' or even, "Is this about that ex-boyfriend?' And it's not that he doesn't care about what I'm trying to say. It's that he respects the process, and I love that."

Tags: Laura Jane Vincent, FALINE, Dave Tippets, The Tin Roof
Location

Best Of Staff Pick The Tin Roof
1117 Magnolia Road - Charleston City Paper


MAKING IT OURSELVES


Singer-Songwriters connect in Greensboro’s music scene
If you don’t think that women artists face a whole different — and extra — set of hurdles, consider the fact that you almost never hear the phrases “male singer/songwriter” or “male jazz musician” or “male-fronted band.” The default assumption has for so long been that the people doing this stuff were male and that in the instances when that wasn’t the case the fact of someone’s female gender was often the first and sometimes only detail to focus on. The dynamic hasn’t always lent itself to receptiveness and opportunity.

Next summer will mark the 20-year anniversary of the first Lilith Fair. The festival, for those who weren’t around, was launched by Canadian singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan and the lineup was made up entirely of female solo artists or female-led bands. The idea was to counterbalance some of the male-centric programming of the music industry. There have probably been hundreds of festivals — maybe thousands — over the years whose lineups included only male performers and male-fronted acts, but no one was marketing them as “an all-male festival,” because the gender breakdown was simply a result of no one in charge thinking twice about it.

The huge success in 2016 of artists like Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Adele, Katy Perry, Sia, Lorde, Nicki Minaj, Demi Lovato, FKA Twigs, Rihanna and Selena Gomez might make it seem like there’s not much of a disproportionate gender representation today in the world of music. And a wave of memoirs by female rockers, like Patti Smith and Chrissie Hynde, has helped create a little historical perspective. But that doesn’t mean the playing field has been leveled.

On a local level, female performers seem to be finding inspiration in the sense of camaraderie, the spirit of collaboration, and the relative viability of pursuing life as an artist that they find in the area.

Talking about a music scene is often a little funny. If you’re on the inside of a regional scene it might not seem like much more than just a network of talented, hard-working, like-minded people sometimes collaborating, sometimes benefiting from the experience of each other, sometimes feeding off a collective sense of mission and drive. But from the outside it can appear like an elusive club, something with unspoken codes, selective admission practices and murky goals. It’s a little like government: If you’re inclined to view the pooled and harnessed energies and resources of the masses as something that can be used for greater good, then you’re probably for it, but if you’re temperamentally suspicious of human nature and the tendency for people to be self-serving, then you might be on the lookout for excesses like pocket-lining, nepotism, and favoritism. A music scene is a concept for people who like to be a part of something bigger than themselves. It’s not necessarily for radical libertarians or those who prize fierce individualism above all other concerns. And what do you point to when you point to a music scene? Is it geography, local culture, a sense of tradition, the price of beer, cheap rent, good clubs, regional studios, proximity to other scenes, music stores, open mics, local promoters, underground venues, house shows, coffee shops, a college town, record shops or is it just creative, eager and supportive people? Or is it the absence of some of those things that spurs people into action?

For whatever reason, there are local singer/songwriters who have found something peculiarly inspiring and supportive about being in the Triad area. It might be the particular time in their careers or it could be the community and the place. Or some combination.

CARRIE PAZ

Carrie Pazdziora is originally from the northeastern part of the state. Pazdziora knew she was interested in music as a kid and started writing songs when she was 15. She headed to Nashville at 18, just out of high school. She was drawn to songwriting and poetry as a teenager, but she was fully thrown into the enterprise through her involvement in praise music through her church. Pazdziora, 30, has performed music in all kinds of places — Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville and even in Paris. But she stopped for a while. Being involved in the music community in Greensboro and Triad area has rekindled her interest.

“I grew up in a small town on a river,” says Pazdziora. “It’s a little river town and it’s quiet — country and farms and things like that. It’s beautiful, but there’s not a whole lot going on there for musicians.”

In Music City, Pazdziora was a part of a kind of youth mission focused on praise music, with eight singer/songwriters collaborating on fresh material. “We had to write a new song every week,” says Pazdziora. They took the show on the road and basically performed at venues in other cities. But Pazdziora didn’t feel entirely engaged.

“I was at that time pretty entrenched in contemporary Christian praise and worship. A lot of the contemporary praise and worship music that I started singing — it’s uplifting, but not super deep,” says Pazdziora. But even after moving on from that particular musical setting, she’s retained a focus on the sacred in her musical tastes and in how she thinks about what she writes. “I love old spirituals and traditional songs. I love the longing and the human experience.”

Formative experiences shape us. Even if we reject some part of our upbringing, the act of rejecting and the reactionary force required to do so kind of points us in the particular direction we end up going.

“I do feel like I’m still writing sacred music in a way,” says Pazdziora. “I’ve definitely moved away from the cultural political phenomenon that is evangelical Christianity. But spirituality and the sacredness of everything is still a major part of my life. I would say that everything that I write, it doesn’t matter if it makes somebody think of a heavenly being or not, I guess I believe that everything is sacred, every creature and every being, there’s a sacredness to life. It’s not necessarily using sacred — quote, unquote — terminology, but I think that there is something sacred about the human experience and the story that everyone is experiencing.”

The inspiration to become a songwriter is a peculiar one, expressing itself in so many different ways. Some great songwriters didn’t start out with any urge to write original material; they learned other people’s songs, songs they liked and admired and enjoyed performing, and eventually had the idea that they, too, might be able to write a memorable song of their own. Or else a cash shortage compelled them to consider writing, since for years the real money to be made in the music business was in songwriting royalties.

Pazdziora - who performs under the name Carrie Paz, playing music at weddings, local wineries, clubs and youth retreats - says the process was sort of inverted for her.

“I never really felt compelled to learn other people’s songs,” she says. In itself, that shouldn’t present much of a challenge for a singer/songwriter. But Pazdziora has come to realize that, getting started without a huge back catalog of her own original material, and with audiences that sometimes want to hear something familiar, she needs to get some covers under her belt to flesh out her sets when she performs. “That’s been a challenge for me.”

The challenge has been double-edged.

Hours spent learning and practicing cover songs have eaten into the valuable hours that Pazdziora would rather be using to write original material. But the studyand-practice routine has also helped her playing: learning the finger-picking technique required to play “Julia” by the Beatles gave Pazdziora some tricks to use on her own songs.

Before coming to the Greensboro area, Pazdziora had been living in Chicago for six years. She had gone there because of a relationship, eventually getting married. Music was a part of the relationship, and when the two eventually split up, the emotional hardship of it made singing feel bound up with pain.

“After we broke up I didn’t want to perform for a while,” says Pazdziora.

Arriving back in North Carolina without any plans to pursue music, Pazdziora was quiet for a while. But like so many songwriters and singers, something drew her back to performing.

“About a year ago I just decided to go to an open mic,” she says.

That was in the spring of 2015. Since then she’s kicked into gear again, with a web site and gigs and plans to write and record more.

“I started to go to open mics in Greensboro and found a really great community of other songwriters and performers,” says Pazdziora. “I guess I wasn’t coming to Greensboro to play music, so it wasn’t really on my radar that Greensboro had a thriving music scene. I found myself entrenched in this little community.”

Pazdziora had been a part of places with thriving music scenes before. But this was different.

“In those places [like Nashville and Chicago], I kind of found myself in competition with people, and I don’t get that at all here,” she says. “That’s one of the things I love about the music scene of a smaller town like Greensboro — it’s extremely supportive and collaborative and I don’t feel at odds with anybody. And, because it’s a smaller town, it’s not like there are a ton of venues, but it’s not like we’re fighting over them. I guess I’ve been amazed too at the talent. It’s just teeming with creativity and talent. It’s a great place to be.”

Pazdziora’s music is mostly sensitive folk with gentle acoustic guitar, more plucked than strummed, and her pure and clear voice climbing high in places, and doubled up in dusky harmonies elsewhere. The songs tend to use imagery from nature — stars, ocean, sand, wind — to sketch out sentiments of wonder at the cosmos and our place in it, but beyond that they’re also about love and unity.

Some songwriters seem to gravitate toward the craft because they simply love entertaining people and expressing themselves.

“I’ve always loved being a performer,” says Pazdziora. “I’ve always loved being in front of people and getting the energy from people.”

But the need to be deep or philosophical isn’t always the primary concern for every songwriter. Folk and pop and rock are filled with all kinds of silly — borderline meaningless — songs that are awesome and memorable all the same. With Pazdziora, one gets the feeling that writing and singing frivolous songs isn’t second nature. She’s learning to embrace a less over-engineered approach to writing and significance.

“I used to want everything to obviously mean something. It used to burden me,” she says. “I guess I’ve lately just kind of let that go and realized more that even things that don’t seem to mean something still mean something. And I don’t have to push it. I don’t need to make a mountain out of a molehill because the molehill is significant enough. I don’t have to have this deep thought that’s beneath something that people need to dig into.”

And yet sometimes Pazdziora manages to take something that’s seemingly slight and find surprising weight to it. Take her version of the Cyndi Lauper hit “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” (arranged by her collaborator Justin J. Morgan). Zeroing in on one verse (“Some boys take a beautiful girl and hide her away from the rest of the world/I wanna be the one to walk in the sun/Oh, girls they wanna have fun”), Pazdziora turns the song into a kind of lament removed from its fizzy dance-tune origin.

“I’d listened to the song hundreds of times, but I had never heard the words in that second verse, so I was struck by that, just how beautiful it was, how deep it was, how true it can be to the female experience — not being able to express yourself fully because you don’t want to attract attention from someone who’s not your significant other,” she says.

Some of this points to the other challenges that artists like Pazdziora might face. It’s probably safe to say that, depending on the church, not all communities of faith encourage women to attract attention to themselves. To get up on stage, under lights and sing into a microphone is a sure way to draw the attention, focus and critical judgment of strangers. That takes guts for anyone, but it’s particularly bold if the notion of dwelling on one’s own feelings and being stared at and listened to is somehow at odds with one’s built-in sense of propriety.

For Pazdziora, pursuing one’s goals is a way of finding one’s place in the world, another way of teasing out the interconnectedness of people, their gifts and strengths, emotion and nature.

“It’s hard to talk about woman power because it offends some people. It’s hard to know how to approach it: What does it mean to be a woman, what does it mean to be womanly? Does being strong and confident mean you’re not being a woman? I guess I would say the opposite.”

EMILY STEWART

Emily Stewart’s path to writing songs and performing was atypical. It was accidental. She was in a car accident. And then she got nudged to get up on stage.

“I got hit by a tractor,” says Stewart.

“But it turned out to be a good thing.”

Forced to spend time convalescing, and out of work for five months, Stewart had to come up with something to occupy herself besides reading and TV.

“I had a guitar collecting dust,” says Stewart. This was eight or nine years ago. Stewart, 32, says she’d always loved to sing and to write, but she had never really applied herself to playing an instrument or songwriting. “I had picked up a guitar a few times and it just never really stuck.”

Stewart, who lives in Greensboro, practices reiki and wellness in Winston-Salem.

She’s come to view her embrace of music and music-making as an extension of her interest in healing energy and health. It might seem far-fetched, but there are a lot of wind-instrument players and vocalists who talk about the surprising beneficial mental and physical side-effects of learning to play music that requires strict breath control. Think of it as a kind of yogic practice with music serving to focus and unify the mind and body.

“Now in retrospect I know that a lot of what I was trying to do was to work through the injury,” says Stewart. “I had a neck injury, and I think that singing was a healing force.”

Elaborating on the point, Stewart says this: “Just like with any other art — you’re basically channeling energy any time you play music.”

This is a story about music and musicmaking, but it’s as much a story about how a group of singers — in this case, female songwriters from the south — were drawn to the craft, in some cases despite the challenges they perceived as inherent in that pursuit, and how their connections to community of like-minded performers has spurred them on. As much as music can be a solitary pursuit and expression of individuality, it is also often the product of a communal connection.

During that stretch of recovering from her car accident, Stewart learned some gospel and Carter Family tunes, started playing with a friend who played banjo. One day, around nine years ago, her friend sprung a surprise on her.

“He said ‘We better start writing some tunes because we have a show in two weeks,’” says Stewart. “I was very upset with him. But I’m glad he pushed me on stage.”

Stewart takes note of the fact that she needed encouragement to make the leap to performing. It wasn’t something she would have done on her own.

“The reason I ended up on stage was because of the confidence of a male performer,” she says. “I probably wouldn’t have thought I had any business setting up a show.”

Stewart, who was raised in Alabama, makes a connection to regional ideas of gender roles and the types of behavior she felt encouraged to explore.

“Especially in the deep South, catering to other people’s needs, that’s in some ways how you’re taught to be a woman,” says Stewart.

The cultural representation of the male troubadour, exposing something of his inner turmoil to an audience in a daring act of self-revelation — hasn’t always had an easy-to-find comparable female counterpart.

“I’ve always noticed just a natural boldness from the male performers that I’ve worked with that I haven’t always had — that fire and courage to get out there and a willingness to bare your soul,” says Stewart. “It can be more of an initial leap to jump on stage for some people.”

Courage might be easy to misread. Who knows how frightened someone is when they get up on stage? Being a good actor might be part of it.

But, in a more quantifiable area, Stewart offers a clear example of how the music business seems to cater to men with regard to what she calls “practical considerations.”

“When I go to the music store to buy picks - particularly metal banjo picks [which fit around the ends of the fingertip] — you really just have to buy picks that are designed for children,” says Stewart.

Stewart plays in a number of bands — including Emily Stewart & The Baby Teeth and Magpie Thief — and she performs as a solo artist as well. With her background in holistic health, Stewart views her singing as more than just entertainment.

“Songs are basically mantras,” she says.

“I always consider whenever I write a song that fact that I’m going to be repeating these words over and over. To me it’s important that I’m going to be saying the right thing.”

For those of us raised on the idea of the disposable and inane pop song, this notion of weighty meaning and healing power might seem like a lot to expect from a few chords, some words and a melody. But the seriousness of the whole endeavor seems to be what draws people like Pazdziora and Stewart to songwriting and singing.

For Stewart, singing is akin to giving witness or testifying. It’s solemn.

“I think that any time that we’re using our voices to acknowledge truth, I think that in itself is a healing experience,” she says. “Acknowledging bold truths is one of the big purposes of songwriting.”

It’s not all good vibes and reflections on happiness. Stewart’s songs have narratives about real life and struggle. She’s been exploring emotions that are occasionally shunned or suppressed. “Female anger is sometimes not acknowledged,” she says. And Stewart’s been working on a song about “anger welling up in the body.”

That doesn’t mean she’s turning into a rage-filled punk screamer. This is still acoustic music, nostalgia-tinged Americana, a setting where tuneful melodicism is generally prized over sonic aggression.

On the one hand, you might expect that in a relatively small city, with only so many venues and so many open mics, that the number of female singer/songwriters in the scene would be small as well. But by all accounts, those involved are regularly surprised at the range and caliber of performers in the area.

“A month or two ago I played a showcase of women songwriters, and I was amazed at how many names and faces there were that I didn’t even know about,” says Stewart. “I feel like there’s mutual support among the community of women songwriters.”

Stewart is preparing for a string of fall dates up the East Coast with her duo project. Ever since she began focusing on music, Stewart has worked to create the flexibility in her life to pursue writing and performing. Some of the credit for her inspiration has to go to the place that drew her to performing and the network of other writers, musicians, singers in the region.

“I feel like Greensboro is a really powerful community,” says Stewart.

LAURA JANE VINCENT

Laura Jane Vincent grew up around here. She left to play music. That’s why she came back, too. Vincent has logged some time in other music cities, places with lots of clubs and a steady influx of outside visitors — playing on the streets in Asheville, working the bars in Charleston, and performing all around Tennessee.

“The thing that brought me back here is the music scene, no doubt,” says Vincent.

Vincent and her husband and bandmate, drummer Dave Tippetts, live in Glendon, out in the country, about 50 minutes from Greensboro. Vincent went to UNCG, and so she was familiar with the musical landscape, but during years away in the early 2000s, she thought she saw something change.

“I saw a community build up around music, and I saw it happen very organically,” she says.

The mutual support of local musicians and the keenness for collaboration is something that Vincent views as part of the region’s appeal for artists.

“There’s an awesome feeling of people helping each other out,” she says. “A lot of cities have that, but I’m biased because I’m here and I see it.”

From a distance, the action in the music business often seems to be clumped together in certain big cities — New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Nashville, Athens, Omaha, wherever. Artists are often given the idea that music has to be pursued elsewhere.

“I think when I was young I didn’t realize that bands were from North Carolina,” says Vincent. Her debut full-length was recorded at Echo Mountain studios in Asheville in 2013.

For Vincent, who’s been performing since she was young, playing guitar and writing songs since she was a teenager, the whole singer/songwriter enterprise is one of exploring beyond boundaries and making connections.

“I really started actively trying to craft songs when I was about 15 or 16. I started playing out in public when I was that age,” says Vincent. “It was good to start that young and get humbled that early and to be able to get feedback.”

She elaborates: “You have to push past any introvert tendencies,” she says. “It really forced me to go outside my comfort zone and to network and meet people and make friends with them!” Vincent, 33, has been doing this for about half of her life now. The artistic challenges and the demand for a sort of super-human amount of out-going interpersonal energy are things that — if they don’t crush you — make you stronger.

“When you’re on stage yourself, you’re naked,” says Vincent. “That’s you, and that’s all people have to look at, and that’s all people have to listen to. You have to have like a planetary ego as a performer to be a solo artist and stand onstage.”

Vincent has new material and she’s eager to record it, possibly using the 200-year-old farmhouse where she and her husband live.

“This time, we have this beautiful space and this house with these high ceilings,” she says.

“I would love to make our next record right here at our house.”

As Vincent points out, the numbers of female performers and pop stars may have changed and increased over the past 20 years, but other aspects of the business remain pretty male-dominated. She’s eager to master the “sound and technical parts” of music-making in the same way she’s focused on songwriting and performing. “Mixing and mastering is where a lot of magic happens,” she says. Record production and sound engineering are fields that could benefit from more female experts.

“It’s just really awesome to see more ladies taking control of that side of it,” says Vincent.

“Now we gotta take it to the next level.

There’s nothing wrong with trying to find a seat at the table.”

‘MAKING IT OURSELVES’

Molly McGinn isn’t an emerging singer/ songwriter on the scene. She’s been playing in the area — collaborating with regional musicians, as a member of different bands, and as a solo artist — for more than a decade. As it happens, McGinn has recently collaborated with Anna Luisa Daigneault, a Greensboro DJ, programmer, musician, singer and engineer who performs under the name Quilla, who has also been working to address the gender divide in the world of EDM. The tune, “Wild and Kind,” is a brooding folk/electronica hybrid, bringing to mind the lonesome desert vibe of Chris Isaak, with ethereal vocal harmonies, subtle low-end churchorgan rumbling underneath the ticking pulse of the synthetic beat, and a speedier vocal counter-phrase that wraps itself around the repeating refrain at the song’s core. McGinn points to the recent production work by Merrill Garbus of Tune-yards as an example of ways the national music industry is evolving from behind the mixing board.

For McGinn, the whole Greensboro music scene, particularly the folk-ish singersongwriter end of the spectrum, is characterized by advocacy, giving people voice.

“That’s part of what you have to do whether you’re a woman or a man, is to figure out who’s not being heard and do your damnedest to make sure that they are,” says McGinn.

But she jokingly alludes to “girl code” — an unspoken mutual-aid ideal.

“We have that responsibility to encourage each other.”

McGinn points to Greensboro singer/ songwriter Laurelyn Dossett as a mentor and a model for how to live a life in music with a connection to people and place.

“What [Dossett] taught me is that the role that the musician plays is a responsibility to the community,” says McGinn.

“I always saw her just reaching out and reaching up.”

The food world may have embraced the idea of locavorism, but it’s a concept that local music scenes have been practicing for ages. Music made close to home has a special significance. McGinn says the area venues — Doodad Farm, Lucky 32, and places like Muddy Creek Music Hall and The Garage in Winston-Salem — also cultivate a sense of community with the kinds of shows that happen there. (As it happens, Vincent, Pazdziora and Stewart were all part of a recent “Southern Sirens” bill earlier this month at Muddy Creek Music Hall to pay tribute to female giants of country music like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and others.)

McGinn says Greensboro and the Triad area have an independent and self-sufficient spirit.

“I think Greensboro’s always been an underground punk kind of town,” says McGinn. “It’s always been pretty hard-core DIY.”

“At one point, maybe 15 years ago, all the best shows were house shows and they were happening in people’s homes,” she says. “Because there hasn’t always been a great place to play, we’ve always done a great job of making it happen on our own. We’re always having to make it ourselves.” ! - Yes weekly


Laura Jane Vincent, Joshua Tell bring folk-music tradition to Test Pattern

April 12, 2017
Laura Jane Vincent
She took the stage carrying a glass of water with her, slung the strap of her Taylor over her shoulder and strummed a few simple chords, making sure all was in tune.


She smiled at the thin crowd who made up the audience for the evening, and suddenly, the room came to life. House music muted and her body swayed in soft motion like a lazy tide. The club echoed with her resounding voice as she picked the strings of her guitar. There was something poetic looming in the air; no sold-out crowd for the night, no line of fans or bombardment of voices and music. Simply a woman and her guitar, playing for the few early members of the audience, playing because it seemed like it’s what she loves.

Laura Jane Vincent opened the show on Monday at Test Pattern in Winston-Salem. And while the crowd was sparse, Vincent played and sang just as confidently as she would to a crowded room of raucous fans.


Usually taking the stage with her husband and drummer Dave Tippetts, it was only Vincent performing for the evening. The Moore County-based singer blends a mix of country and folk with a more contemporary style of ballads, powered by a ruggedly angelic voice reminiscent of Janis Joplin and Natalie Merchant, and could easily contest the talents of many popular singers. Though the promotion and crowd lacked for the incredible acts that are not Test Pattern’s usual forte, Vincent’s voice set a mellow, warm tone for the evening, almost hypnotic as she performed her songs.

Vincent’s set contained many tracks from her latest LP . . . for a sweetheart from the south, which was recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, the famed studio whose past clientele include such acts as Widespread Panic, the Avett Brothers, Zac Brown Band and Dawes.

Headlining the show for the night was singer-songwriter Joshua Tell. As the audience expanded only slightly, Tell and bandmates Jamie Velasco on lead guitar and stand-up bassist Pierce Black spread across the stage, settling in to a cool and smooth set.

Originally from Missouri, Tell now resides in Cologne, Germany, performing with his trio across Europe and the United States. The group is currently setting out on a US tour to promote its first record, a self-titled EP, which they released earlier this month.

Tell’s voice drifted above intricate finger-picked melodies in a style that pays homage to Phil Ochs and Mason Jennings, while containing the traditional narrative and story-telling paradigm of Appalachian and Ozark-based folk songs. The trio held a cool façade on stage, adorned in 1950s-style fedoras and worn leather boots as they played under the dim stage lights. Tell blended slow, mesmerizing ballads with upbeat tunes that even the meager crowd couldn’t help but to tap their feet to.

Test Pattern marked Tell’s second US show on his tour, which will cover 14 shows and eight states in just two weeks.

While the musicians for the evening were deserving of a greater audience and better promotion, the artists gave a solid and classy show. With swinging melodies and whiskey-smooth vocals, Joshua Tell is a hopeful talent in a waning tradition of contemporary folk storytellers, one that might just give the genre a much needed revival. And even with lean attendance and a club whose main attractions usually revolve around punk rock and metal shows, Vincent and Tell mark an honorable step for Test Pattern, giving a home to musicians who might otherwise not have a stage to perform. - Triad City Beat


Discography

...for a sweetheart from the south - 2013
Ashley Ave Demos EP - 2008
Summer Demos EP - 2004
8th Floor Sessions - 2002

Photos

Bio

Laura Jane Vincent is a professional performer, multi instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. She is the most recent winner of the 2017 Triad Music Festival Songwriter Stand-off competition. She writes personal ballads of strength, loss, and triumph and features folk tales of those who should know better but just simply can't help themselves. Her original, soothing but powerful sound comes from years of tutelage by her father and various other professional songwriters, classical musicians, and indie artists that she has surrounded herself with her whole life. She performs hundreds of concerts and shows every year, traveling the northeast and south. Always expanding her routes, she's a constant touring force, longing to share her original music with any and all who will listen. After living and learning in several music scenes (including years in charleston, sc, asheville, nc, and the Piedmont triad of nc), she now lives in southeastern rural North Carolina in a 200 year old farmhouse with her bandmate and drummer husband, Dave Tippetts, and a general assortment of fuzzy misfit animals. 

Her first full length album, "...for a sweetheart from the south" was recorded and mixed at world famous Echo Mountain Recording Studios in 2013 and is available on CD and limited edition colored vinyl through her website, iTunes, and at any of her live shows. From clubs to coffee shops, art galleries to festivals, and everywhere in between, she'll be playing soon in a town near you...