Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nashville comes to Northampton as Laura Cantrell pays tribute to Country Music Hall of Famer Kitty Wells on her new album and at the Iron Horse on Saturday, May 21st at 7PM. Vermont’s J.P. Harris & The Tough Choices open.

 With a voice that reminds us of a bygone era, it’s perhaps fitting that Laura Cantrell should choose to release a tribute album to the Queen of Country, Kitty Wells. Kitty Wells Dresses: Songs of the Queen of Country Music took shape a few years ago after Laura performed in a showcase honoring the iconic country star. Alt-country bible No Depression says “this is Laura Cantrell’s finest album to date and will win her a legion of new fans when the traditionalists actually listen to it and the young kids on the block will no doubt seek out Kitty Wells’ original recordings and possibly move on to other forgotten artistes of that generation too.”

Kitty Wells was the first female country singer to top the charts, and at the age of 91, is the oldest living member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her songs, including the 1952 hit It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels, helped pave the way for the likes of Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette.

Cantrell explained “I’ve been a Kitty Wells fan since childhood, inheriting my regard for her music from my father’s family from West Tennessee. Her music is great and it's wrong it seems that it is not better remembered today. I always responded to the fundamental feeling in Wells’ singing, her way of sounding both emotional and restrained at once, a really affecting combination.” 
 The album, due out Tuesday, May 17th, was recorded in Nashville with producer Mark Nevers (Lambchop) and features musicians Chris Scruggs (M Ward), Fats Kaplin (Kane Welch Kaplin), Paul Niehaus (Calexico).

Nashville-born and New York City-based singer Laura Cantrell shines as one of the sweetest hearts at the rodeo. Her warm, precise country-folk style has brought her comparisons to (of course) Kitty Wells, Neko Case, Nanci Griffith, and Emmylou Harris, but she herself seems bound to be one of those singers that folks get compared to. Late legendary UK DJ John Peel called her Tremblin' Kind "my favorite record of the last 10 years and possibly my life." Cantrell hosted an award-winning old-school-meets-new radio program on New Jersey's WFMU for many years called the Radio Thrift Shop.

Opening the show at the Iron Horse for what’s guaranteed to be an amazing Saturday night of Country music is Vermont’s J.P. Harris and The Tough Choices who play Old-School Honky Tonk, set squarley between 1950 & 1975. Featuring the classic lineup of rhythm and lead guitar, electric bass, drums, and pedal steel, The Tough Choices embody an all-but vanished style of Country music that is rarely found on the barroom stage today. High-energy, danceable beats and tear-jerking ballads are sure to please the seasoned country fan or young initiate alike.

Tickets for Laura Cantrell plus J.P. Harris & The Tough Choices at the Iron Horse on Saturday, May 21st at 7PM are available at Northampton Box Office, 413-586-8686 and online at

No comments: