Lori LaRayne
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Lori LaRayne

Boise, Idaho, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2019

Boise, Idaho, United States
Established on Jan, 2019
Solo Alternative Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review: Lori LaRayne - Thirst"

As we slowly reemerge from the mental caverns of confused logic and pandemic shutdowns it behooves us to set aside our expectations and embrace aspects of life anew.

For Boise-based singer/songwriter Lori LaRayne, seizing the opportunity of life anew comes in the form of her latest album Thirst.

The twelve track, gritty, dusty analog qualities within the western Gothic Americana immediately transport you to the world of Thirst. Lori LaRayne delivers a memorable voice within the, often, haunting world crafted within. Fans of Americana who appreciate getting back to the roots of the style, perhaps through the lens of a modern perspective, will find time worth spending with Thirst.

Thirst leans heavily into the steely emotion of each strum and pluck (most prominently in “Lake King”) to carry the emotion from more than just lyric and vocal delivery. The dynamic crafted from this approach allows Lori LaRayne to expand into a sound that is not simply meticulously concocted, but a timbre and presence that paints a vivid landscape of emotion and grit. It is as if the acoustic instrumentals bend around the vocals which offset the presence of the album and each track just enough to leave you with a slightly unsettled warmth. Thirst is a vessel for LaRayne’s vocals which, at moments skirt almost Carlile-esc Americana (circa Bear Creek), but more-often-than-not confidently stride into a sound that is her own; one which pairs with the almost constant frenetic pace of the banjo in a dance around a campfire in the middle of nowhere in a surrender to a time and sound long since forgotten.

We can all afford to slightly adjust our perspective and reality as we attempt to find our new sense of life. Setting aside expectations and letting Thirst take you away is sure to provide you with an experience you didn’t expect and likely won’t forget. The syncopated vocal/banjo dance in the desert calls to the vastness of the imagination and the empowerment of LaRayne’s vision. Thirst is out now. - Nanobot Rock

"Lori LaRayne Releases An Adventurous Full Length Album"

Lori LaRayne returns with a full length album that tells a set of stories in the form of rustic style folk songs with a heavy theatrical overtone that brings them all to life.

The Thirst album is overflowing with emotionally driven tales and vocal harmonies that feel like being lost at sea.

Utilizing acoustic guitar and piano to accompany the artists passionate vocal performances, the record is a massive and intense release that delves deep into a different world all together and when it's over you have to shake the dust off and snap back into reality.

Musical saw, banjo, and a beautiful set of organic instrumentation fills the air around you as you fall into the soundscape of this album.

The songs come across brutally honest and depict visions with detail and gorgeous composition all done with a tastefulness that creates this staple feel for her music as a whole.

There are plenty of classic country influences and songs you can get up and dance to along with the tell tale tracks that feel full.

Thirst is like reading an adventure book about the old west and it really is satiating in the end.

With such a wondrous and huge release, we had to have a chat with Lori to find out exactly where this all comes from and how it all began.

TSWS: Okay let's start with the Thirst album. This record has a rustic and storytelling folk approach with some outstanding instrumentation! Where did this record come from?

One of the best things about music is that if you are open to exploring, you will never, ever run out of new things to learn and new directions to wander. I started playing music about four years ago, and one thing led to another… it started with banjo, and then I started singing. I must have learned hundreds of old Appalachian folk and bluegrass songs over those few years. But a couple years ago when I started going through several different life crises at the same time, I knew I needed to break from the comfort and safety of age-worn and loved folk songs. I started writing my own songs and it became a form of therapy for me.

I really only played the banjo when I started the album. I wanted more instruments, but the songs are so personal, I knew it needed to be a solo project so I would feel safe enough to let go and say what I needed to say. So, with substantial help and encouragement from my producer Andy A at The Chop Shop (as well as his percussion throughout the album), I started picking up different instruments to add layers… bowed upright bass, musical saw, acoustic guitar, piano. I don’t really know how to play any of them, but I wanted all the emotion to come from me, even if it was imperfect.

TSWS: I'm hearing some awesome styles embedded in this record. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

My Appalachian folk influences are singers and banjo players who have this power and timeless truth in their voices: Ola Belle Reed and Doc Watson particularly. But my album unintentionally turned out so different from traditional folk. In retrospect, I can hear the influences from artists in different genres, like Bauhaus, Ludovico Einaudi, Mogwai, The Dresden Dolls, PJ Harvey, maybe some Lana Del Rey.

TSWS: This album feels like a concept record and songs feel like they connect. Is this true?

The songs are absolutely connected. They are about my journey through trauma, awakening, and hope that has been building up my whole life I guess, which all came to the surface over the past couple years. Heartbreak can teach you a lot about yourself, if you listen… it was the start of reflection on how it got to be this way, all the way from the beginning… childhood loneliness, relationship patterns, self-loathing, healing, and ultimately, life and death, and the search for meaning and connection within the magic of every day we have as imperfect humans on this beautiful planet.

TSWS: What's next for you as an artist?

I’m back in the studio now recording a single that wasn’t right for the album… it’s a sweet, upbeat song about that uncertain but hopeful feeling when you have a crush. But after that, I have some very different ideas… It will take several months to get started, and it involves attempting to learn electric guitar! In this acoustic album, I tried to process all the dark things that have been on my mind, but it turns out I’m not even close to being finished, and I need to hit it harder… next time it has to be electric. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to stand still within a genre or style… and I’m ok with that. I will also keep writing and performing on the banjo too, always.

TSWS: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

I work full time as a technical writer, and I spend a lot of time in the summer camping by lakes and going out on my paddleboard with my puppy, Gonzo. He is too smart for his own good and steals everyone’s hearts.

TSWS: Who are you listening to right now?

Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle, Bauhaus, Rasputina, and I’ve also been getting really into listening to the community radio shows on Radio Boise… particularly discovering more heavy music on Sonic Mushroom Cloud, like We are PIGS, Holy Wars, and Mountain of Smoke. And… I’m gearing up for a summer of going out to lots of local bands in the Boise scene!

TSWS: How do you write your songs? Is it lyrics first or chords?

I almost always start with the lyrics. I’ve been obsessed with words my whole life. I am in awe of musicians who can jam and come out with a mood and story from the music first... Maybe someday I’ll get there, but I get the feel from lyrics, and then I have to work to get the sound right to fit the mood. I always write the music on banjo first, and then add the other instruments.

TSWS: With things getting better, will you be focusing on any live performances?

Yes… but not as much as I thought I would six months ago. I have done a few performances and really enjoyed them, and I have a few more on the books over the summer. But I’ve discovered that I love songwriting and recording so much that I’m making sure to keep enough time to stay in that creative space… time to keep learning and exploring and growing as a musician and a human.

TSWS: Can we expect any music videos soon?

Ha… probably not. I’m pretty shy and I am not in love with cameras… Maybe if I end up in a band again I could handle it…

TSWS: This album feels like a massive undertaking. Is there any advice you;d have for other up and coming artists out there?

Feel the fear and do it anyway. I constantly feel out of my depth. The first six months I was trying to sing, I was so nervous my whole body shook. But every time I pushed through that fear, it got a little better and easier. Every new skill I’ve added to my music has felt that way… can I really do this? I’m not sure… so I’ll just do it anyway. People don't remember your mistakes as much as you think they do.

Also, I try to be around people light years ahead of me musically, and I just try to take in as much as I possibly can. When I feel intimidated, I try to shift my perspective and instead see it as an amazing opportunity to be around people I admire and can learn from.

TSWS: You wake up in the middle of the night starving. What's your go-to midnight snack? (a question of character here)

TSWS: A tin of smoked oysters with Tabasco sauce… not sure what that says about my character???

TSWS: Before we go, what would you like to express to fans of the music?

Well… I don’t really see my music as so much of an artist/fan dynamic… It’s more like… I have found a way to explore the complicated and difficult and beautiful parts of life through lyrics and music, and it is so important because emotions that are pushed down always come out anyway, sideways and wrong and hurtful in unhealthy ways. And when I can share emotions with others and there is even a moment of connection and we are dealing with difficult things in a healthy way… I feel truly grateful and alive and that the complicated human experience is worth it. So I guess I would say… thank you for sharing this music with me. - The Sounds Won't Stop

"Thirst - Album Press Release"

Lori LaRayne
New Album Release
Friday April 23, 2021
Boise, ID

Lori LaRayne is pleased to announce the release of her debut solo album, Thirst. This banjo-led acoustic 12-song LP touches the dark shadows of gothic folk, while finding a new sound that ventures beyond the traditional and into the bright glare of modern life.

This intimate album came about after a difficult two-year period when Lori LaRayne went through an intense series of losses and heartbreaks – “lifequakes”. She found music, and began writing songs as way to start sorting through the wreckage.

The theme of the album, Thirst, is a reference to human longing – for love, intimacy, and self-forgiveness. Running throughout the album, there is also a theme of water as a giver and destroyer of life, from the dark modern fairytale of Lake King, to the dramatic scene of heartbreak and deception in Pine Waters, to renewal and quiet contemplation at a lake in Time.

The sound
Lori LaRayne introduces a unique sound driven by banjo and piano as lead instruments, with unexpected elements introduced by double bass, acoustic guitar, percussion, and musical saw. Vivid lyrics, powerful alto vocals, and creative harmonies weave stories of love, loneliness, heartbreak, and hope through a journey of moods shifting from brooding tension, to calm contemplation, to driving anguish.

The feel of the album is based on the raw, organic energy of a live acoustic performance. The album was produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Andy A at Chop Shop Recording Services in Boise, Idaho.

Lori LaRayne’s musical influences include a wide range of genres, including Appalachian folk, bluegrass, folk (Johnny Cash) gothic folk (The Dead South), gothic alternative, (The Dresden Dolls, Bauhaus), alternative singer-songwriters (PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple), and neo-classical (Ludovico Einaudi).

The songs
1. Quartz Mountain - - - An epic, cinematic journey through heartbreak experienced on a mountain made of quartz. Powered by driving piano, clawhammer banjo, double bass, and drums.

2. Ships Passing - - - A modern fairytale about intimate connections that nearly happen, but slip out of reach. With a sea shanty feel, this slow waltz drifts with the tides, featuring simple banjo, piano, bass drum, and vocal harmonies.

3. Ghost - - - A song for venting the anger and confusion of the inevitable experience in modern-day dating: being ghosted. Driven by piano, banjo, musical saw, bass drum, and shaker.

4. Lake King - - - A dark, brooding gothic waltz featuring banjo, piano, bass drum, and deep, menacing bowed bass. A song about drifting on a lake at night, contemplating the worst – becoming the Lake King’s daughter.

5. Waiting - - - A simple, intimate, quietly angry song with just banjo and vocals. A heartbreak story told from the perspective of someone who knows what they want but spends their days waiting and planning.

6. Pine Waters - - - A tense, dramatic song set at the scene of a breakup. Layers of piano, paired with banjo and bass drum drive this song through the atmospheric build up to the moment of heartbroken anguish.

7. Caravan Parade - - - Banjo, drums, and shaker move this intense song about the trials of living homeless in a camp trailer – a “caravan” – in England.

8. Blue Star - - - 3-finger banjo, acoustic guitar, and musical saw combine for a haunting feel in this story from childhood about loneliness and wanting to escape to the red planet to look back on earth as a blue star.

9. Turning of the Worm - - - Fun, and full of energy, this song is about being entrapped – and escaping from – a relationship with a narcissist. Featuring banjo twice – in both clawhammer style and bluegrass 3-finger style, and powered by Andy A’s slap double bass and drums, the cathartic energy in this song is a celebration of empowerment earned at the end of a toxic relationship.

10. Her - - - A painfully intense look inside the mind of a woman whose internal voices are unkind to herself. Frantic piano, banjo, bowed bass, and drums, and harmony vocals throughout converge in the chaotic, triumphant ending of this song.

11. Time - - - A calm, contemplative song about healing, featuring simple banjo and intimate vocals.

12. Lifequakes - - - An uplifting song about moving on from tragedy; a reminder from a lost friend to make the most of every day. This song features banjo, piano, and Andy A’s drums and djembe. - Lori LaRayne

"An Interview with Lori LaRayne"

Lori LaRayne just released a lucious and tastefully roots folk EP called Quartz Mountain and it's a detailed and descriptive record full of colorful instrumentation and laced with passionate vocals from start to finish.

LaRayne has a unique and vibrant vocal approach that at times gives off an Ani Defranco feel but with a twist.

Songs are doused in heart as she goes on to tell stories that paint vivid pictures with her words and it's very easy to get pulled into her world.

Piano, banjo, and acoustic guitar drive the record musically as the tracks sway and build with intensity as they play on.

Wonderfully deepening and engulfing, the songs can whisk you away to a different place all together and the artist gets personal and holds little back in the way of both songwriting and what she wants to say.

Vocals bend and swell as the songs swirl around you and at times, keep you afloat in the aether of the record itself.

These songs have life. They have heart. They have realness and all came from someplace within LaRayne whether it was a life experience or a story she created.

The EP really feels good to listen to and beckons a live performance and what it might be like to see.

LaRayne has an alluring power behind her performances and it's both graceful and edgy somehow but works perfectly for the aesthetic of the music and songs.

With such a great release, we wanted to sit down with the artist to talk about where it all came from. Here is what happened.

TSWS: Okay let's start with the Quartz Mountain record. This record is a 3 song EP that hits a very roots folk sound. Where did this record come from?

I've had a really difficult couple of years… as bad as 2020 was, it was actually a much better year for me than 2019. I've come across a psychology term for it - lifequakes. Apparently most people go through two or three periods in their life where everything falls apart. Their hearts are broken, they are betrayed, people die, they lose their job, house, family, health, their whole universe turns upside down. They just get hit over and over in a short period of time by a series of random, unrelated traumas. To get through it, they have to rebuild themselves from the ashes. These songs I've been writing are a kind of self-therapy. I'm working through my lifequakes by using music as catharsis.

TSWS: I love the vocal style with the way the music plays out. What artists or bands really influenced you as an artist?

When I started singing, I was really inspired by early recorded Appalachian folk singers and banjo players who had this undeniable truth in their voices: Ola Belle Reed, Cousin Emmy, Doc Watson, and Clarence Ashley. As I've been branching out from the traditional style, I've been noticing some of my more modern, alternative idols coming through in my music: PJ Harvey (early demos), Fiona Apple, Dresden Dolls, Bauhaus, and Ludovico Einaudi.

I also have a huge amount of respect and appreciation for my first banjo teacher, Jason Homey, who was the banjo player in The Clumsy Lovers for ten years. Not only did he give me my foundation for banjo, he inspired me to find my voice. In a lesson one day, he gave me a song arrangement to be played while also singing. I told him I don't sing, I don't have a pretty voice, and his response was something like, "Ok, well, sing anyway." So I tried, and I almost instantly felt a part of myself coming to life that I'd been missing for a long time.

TSWS: How did all of this really start for you?

I started out in the local folk scene as a beginner banjo player about three years ago, playing in bluegrass and old-time jams and bands. It was a really difficult but exhilarating time, working through shyness and finding my voice and becoming a part of the music community. When lockdown hit last March and I was on my own, I started writing my own songs and I gave myself permission to break the rules of traditional music. I'm going through a really uncomfortable process of trying to learn skills while trying to experiment and trust my own voice. I thought it would be years before I would be ready to record my own music, but I got lucky. The band I've been in since early 2020, The Trees The Trees, started recording with producer Andy Agenbroad at The Chop Shop, and it quickly became a safe space for me. So I decided to try out recording a solo song. Instead of giving me advice on how to "improve" or trying to smooth out my amateur attempts at music, Andy listened to me and my voice and my vision. He gave me the space to build my confidence so I could keep writing my own songs from the heart, trust myself, lose and find myself in the music.

TSWS: How do you write your songs? Is it lyrics first or do you write it on an acoustic guitar? What's your process?

I almost always start with the lyrics. I know it's different for everyone but I am a total linguistic nerd… I literally have a Ph.D. in grammar… for me, the story is where the "feel" of the song comes from. I get the feel and the rhythm through words and then I get on my banjo and hope for alchemy.

TSWS: What sort of things inspire you to write?

The usual… heartbreak, trauma… and I've had a lot of really strange experiences in my life. I do also write some "lighter" stuff about love and longing and everyday life… I'm working through a lot of my backlog of repressed emotions, and I think I'm going to be able to move past that stuff and write more diversely before too long.

TSWS: What is something like you doing when you are NOT working on music?

This year has been hard for everyone in different ways… for me, it's been really lonely… I work from home now and see only a handful of people and I really miss meeting new people. I've wanted to get a dog for twenty years so finally this seemed like my chance, and I got a quarantine puppy, Gonzo, and we hang out all the time. I'm training him to be chill on my paddleboard, because in the summer I spend most of my free time camping by lakes.

TSWS: Are you going to be performing live when the time comes?

Yes!!!!!!!!!! I miss live music so much. I've done a few live solo shows and I definitely want to do more, especially now that I have a lot of original songs in addition to the traditional folk favorites I love to play.

TSWS: What's next for you as an artist?

I'm nearly finished recording a full-length solo album. I'll release it in March or April. I wish I could do an album release show but I guess it will have to be something live-streamed. When the live music scene comes back to life, I want to get out there! I want to see faces and feel the energy in the room and sing my heart out and forever forget this time where it feels like our whole lives are lived through computers. I want to travel again and see more of this beautiful planet and meet people!

TSWS: This is an impressive EP to say the least. Did it take long to record it? Did it come out how you expected?

This EP exceeded my wildest dreams. It came together quickly, too. I recorded with Andy on Tuesday evenings, just for an hour or two, over four weeks. The first week, I laid down the banjo and vocals for Lake King. Andy said, you know what this song needs? Some piano and bowed bass. I said, well I don't really play piano but I took piano lessons for a few years as a kid, I'll try to figure something out. But for the bass… are you gonna do that? He said… no, you are. And he lent me his stand-up bass. So I spent a week creating my first ever piano composition and hacking at his bass with a bow… I can't believe it actually worked. I mean, it's not meant to be philharmonic standard or anything… it's really all about creating a mood. One thing I love about this EP is the punk DIY ethos behind it.

TSWS: As a songwriter and up and coming artist. What sort of advice would you have for other artists out there trying to get heard?

Be the artist who genuinely supports other artists. And it shouldn't be some kind of reciprocal expectation… if you are passionate about your art, I think you can see it in fellow musicians when they are passionate about their art, and you should do everything you can to help and support those who are authentic, whether it comes back around or not. As musicians we are part of this messed up club where we take the best and worst we see in humanity and we suck it deep into our lungs and eject it out into the air and it's really fucking hard sometimes and a lot of people aren't going to get it. But fellow musicians, even if they don't really prefer your music, can appreciate the heart behind it. I really think if you authentically engage in the music community, your music will find life.

TSWS: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

First of all… I miss you. I miss seeing faces and I miss sharing the same air and airwaves. I've met a lot of really wonderful people by playing music. I've heard stories and learned lessons that I carry with me every day. I'm a pretty hardcore introvert and outsider but this past year has taught me not to take for granted how absolutely magical it is to meet people through music and to push each other to feel things through music that maybe we've been hiding from. I want to meet you soon, and let's stop hiding. - The Sounds Won't Stop



Lori LaRayne is a solo alt-folk/Americana musician based in Boise, Idaho. Her clawhammer banjo-driven sound alludes to the influences of The Avett Brothers, PJ Harvey, Dresden Dolls, Rasputina, and early recorded Appalachian folk singers such as Ola Belle Reed and Doc Watson. With lyrics and vocals that are honest, powerful, and fearless, her solo music is a departure from the traditional, evoking the subtle darkness of haunted landscapes and the urgent energy of heartbreak, loss, and redemption.

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