Laura Cortese digs deep and aims high, grew up in San Francisco and moved to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music, immersing herself in the city’s vibrant indie music scene and enjoying a busy touring-and-studio-sidekick career which included appearances with Band of Horses at Carnegie Hall and Pete Seeger at Newport Folk Festival.
But, it’s been with her band, The Dance Cards that she has made the biggest impact. Served up with panache and zing, it’s bold and elegant fare, schooled in the lyrical rituals of folk music and backed by grooves that alternately inspire Cajun two-stepping and rock ‘n’ roll swagger.
Following UK tours in 2016, when contributors to the UK’s Rock n Reel magazine, submitted their Best of The Year lists for publication, top writer David Innes declared that they had been his “most memorable gig,” saying they “swung and rocked with constraint-free exuberance, tugging at and capturing everyone’s hearts.”
Songlines magazine drooled: “This was a celebration of American string playing par excellence,” while fRoots mag said they were “powerful, gutsy and almost certainly going to make musical waves.”
Since then, the four-piece has taken both Shetland and Orkney Folk Festivals by storm, and are back in the UK for summer festival appearances and a string of tour dates that will take them from the south of England, through Scotland right up to Shetland.
The band kicked off 2018 in style, flying in for two big shows at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival, promoting their current album, California Calling, on Compass Records, which has been winning them rave reviews and much radio exposure.
Awarding the album a 5-star review (there were many) at Acoustic magazine, Julian Piper called it “stunning” and added: “If there was any justice, you’d see Laura on Later with Jools next week.”
Laura Cortese (fiddle/lead vocals)
Jenna Moynihan (fiddle/vocals)
Valerie Thompson (cello/vocals)
Jeni Magana (double bass/vocals)
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