Join us at Red Light Café to celebrate the release of the new CD from Laura Cortese, Into the Dark! The evening begins with an "in the round" performance by San Francisco songwriters Jeff Campbell, Brad Brooks, and Clay Bell; followed by Laura Cortese and her quartet at 10pm.
There is nothing timid about Laura Cortese. She wields a fiddle like a rocker slings his guitar, and sings with even more swagger. A native San Franciscan, Cortese moved to Boston to study violin at Berklee College of Music and has since immersed herself in the city’s vibrant indie music scene. She has made appearances with Band of Horses, Pete Seeger, Patterson Hood and Michael Franti, and Jocie Adams of the Low Anthem. Despite her rock n’ roll proclivities, Cortese’s own music is driven not by drums or bass but by strings.
Her latest album, Into the Dark, is the follow-up to her solo EP The Acoustic Project (2010) and to Pine (2011), a collaborative effort by a group dubbed The Poison Oaks involving Sam Amidon, Aoife O’Donovan, Jefferson Hamer, and many more. Into the Dark features original songs performed by a string ensemble comprised of some of America’s greatest folk fiddlers and cellists: Hanneke Cassel, Natalie Haas, Brittany Haas, Mariel Vandersteel, and Valerie Thompson. Cortese writes with the vivid eloquence of an artist schooled in the lyrical rituals of folk music, augmenting the album’s lush strings with brass, winds, percussion, and velvety group vocals. You can hear pop in her deftly-written hooks and rock in the syncopated pulse that propels even her gentlest melodies. The result is an album that is as bold as it is elegant, at once rooted and transcendent.
Recent winner of the Guitar Center Singer Songwriter Competition, Jeff Campbell’s onstage experiences over the last 10 years have taken him to coast to coast countless times and have found him opening for Grammy-winning band Train and sharing the stage with members of Counting Crows and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead and Further.
Brad Brooks is that rare quadruple threat of writer, player, singer, and performer. His songs combine the orchestral sophistication of Queen, the melodic sensibility of Elvis Costello, and the punk energy of early Talking Heads. Brooks is rooted in a kind of Victorian California romanticism; his vocal approach is earnest and dramatic, but maintains a poise and sense of wry wit that keeps it all fresh.