Laura Cantrell brings her U.S. tour down to Atlanta's Red Light Café! Special guest Mandi Strachota opens the show.
$7 Adv – $10 Door
Doors @ 7:30 PM
Laura Cantrell is a country music artist based in New York City. Born in Nashville, TN, she came to New York to attend Columbia College, and found that her abiding interest in country music helped her stay connected with her family roots. That interest was the motivation behind her long-running radio program on WFMU in Jersey City, NJ, “The Radio Thrift Shop.” Beginning on WFMU in 1993, the program was a Saturday afternoon staple in the New York area for 13 years, then moved to WFMU.org and ran for two seasons on BBC Radio Scotland as a summer replacement in 2005 and 2006. In her ten-year recording career, Cantrell has released three acclaimed albums: Not The Tremblin’ Kind, When The Roses Bloom Again, and Humming By The Flowered Vine. She has toured extensively in the United Kingdom, Europe and Ireland, and was a favorite of pioneering British disc jockey John Peel, who called her 2000 album “Not The Tremblin’ Kind” “my favorite record of the last ten years, possibly my life.” Cantrell recorded several Peel sessions for the BBC from 2000-2004 and appeared on the first Peel Day program on Radio One commemorating the first anniversary of Peel’s death.
Cantrell’s music has been celebrated in the press including features in The New York Times, “O” Magazine, Elle, and the Wall Street Journal. Cantrell’s music has been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “On Point,” and “Weekend Edition.” She has performed on “A Prairie Home Companion,” “Mountain Stage,” and the “Grand Ole Opry,” and appeared on the television programs “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” and the Sundance Channel’s “Spectacle: Elvis Costello.” In recent years, she has been a contributor to The New York Times and www.VanityFair.com.
In 2011, Cantrell released Kitty Wells Dresses: Songs Of The Queen of Country Music, a recording she made in honor of one of her heroines, the great Kitty Wells. A meditation on femininity in country music, the set takes its title from an original song written in tribute to Wells. In 2013, Cantrell traveled to Nashville to record her fifth studio album. No Way There from Here, a return to the style and outlook of Humming by the Flowered Vine, was released in the U.K. in late 2013, and appeared in the United States in early 2014.
Mandi Strachota was born in Atlanta, GA, to parents Sharon and Steve, who shortly afterward moved to her dad’s home state of Wisconsin. She began studying the Suzuki method of piano at age four. It wasn’t long after that she was rallying other children to participate in her own personal productions of ‘Annie’ in the bay windows of the local YMCA and playing ‘DJ’ with her friends while making mixed tapes. She was a constant songbird around the house, belting out tunes from influences like Whitney Houston, Sheena Easton, Barbara Mandrell, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. Since her mother had a background working in the Nashville record industry and her father was a lover of Motown, Mandi learned at an early age to appreciate a wide variety of music and culture. She had her first encounter with the guitar at age 10, only to put it down at age 12 to experiment with the saxophone. She continued her musical hobbies throughout high school, but it wasn’t until a few years later that she realized her passion was actually her calling.
Mandi left Wisconsin to attend the University of Notre Dame, where she majored in Mathematics. She still spent her free time pursuing music by taking violin lessons, organizing music for her dorm’s chapel services, and playing piano for Notre Dame’s ‘Shenanigans’. In her junior year Mandi joined Notre Dame’s Voices of Faith gospel choir. It was here that she began to realize music was not just something she liked, but something she wanted to share with the world.
After graduation Mandi spent a year living on Milwaukee’s culturally diverse ‘East Side’ before deciding to make the move to Atlanta. She had heard about Atlanta’s blossoming music scene and was intrigued to find out what it was about the city that had united her parents from different worlds. Mandi took her collection of instruments to which she had added a set of drums and an accordion and began to reach out to the audiences of Atlanta. She spent the beginning of her time there frequenting karaoke nights and open jams. She was encouraged by artists in the local blues scene, getting help from artists like Danny ‘Mudcat’ Dudeck, Andrew Black, and Jason Pastras. Then in 2007 she walked into a tiny bar on the square in Marietta where Larry Griffith played.
Mandi was invited to sit in for a song, which turned into five or six. She returned the next week and sang backup vocals from the audience and never looked back. It wasn’t long before she was a regular fixture in the lineup. She sang with the Larry Griffith band for the next six years. Mandi returned to playing the guitar and keyboards and began her solo career shortly after joining the band, playing acoustic gigs in several venues around the city.
In 2011 Mandi began work on her debut album, Fly. With the help of local musicians, studio engineer and bandmate Randy Larocque, and the writing and production skills of best friend Larry Griffith, Mandi’s team laid down the foundation for her first album. Unfortunately, Mandi had health issues in the middle of the recording process and lost her voice for almost a year. After receiving no answers from doctors and specialists, Mandi decided to consider a more natural approach. In a few months she was back to full voice and in better health than ever. After traversing this adversity she developed the confidence and determination to put her own finishing touches on the album, truly ‘finding her voice’ for the first time.
The soulful richness of Mandi’s voice parallels the heart and soul she put into this album. Through tracks like “Phoenix” and “Crazy” she shares her story with the world.