Laura Evans (vocals)
Daisy Pepper ( bass)
Joe Combs ( guitar)
Jamie Dawson ( drums)
One great interview here at Rock the Joint Magazine last year was our talk with the wonderful Laura Evans. And 2022 saw her deliver a stream of tracks that were widely praised; “State of Mind,” “I’m Alright,” and “Good at Getting Over You” have all been downloaded in large numbers and have become a part of her live set. “I’m Alright” has this terrific big country sound with a bass beat that reaches out and grabs those line dancers!
“All is fair in love and war,” sings the girl with the lion inside!
The purpose of today’s conversation was to discuss her upcoming October 2023 UK tour; it also presented a chance to catch up on what has been happening in a very eventful year. But, before we started, Lorraine (part of the team here) has a love of horror novels and films (as seen on our poetry page!), and she was watching a vampire movie the other day, an old horror movie called “Temptation,” and thought she had seen Laura in it. Was she?
Laura- Yes, it was; I have to admit that I was in that film! But that was so long ago; it was another world. I’m not a horror buff at all, but I did recently watch “The Last of Us” (Joel (Pedro Pascal), a smuggler tasked with escorting the immune teenager Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across a post-apocalyptic United States), and that was really good. But apart from that, I’m not into vampires, zombies, or anything like that!
In more recent times, Laura had such a great 2022 into 2023; every time we would look, she was at one festival or another or gaining accolades for her music.
Laura- Yes, last year we released the new album. We were touring extensively off the back of it, so it has all been a bit of a whirlwind for the past 12 months. But for the next tour, I’m doing it myself; all the PR is down to me, so I’m here saying hello!
The last time we spoke, we were talking about “Fire With Fire,” a song that we all liked here, and it was interesting hearing about it. We wondered if writing autobiographically was tricky, in making it accessible to everyone else, and whether the track had made it to the live set.
Laura- It does appear on the live set, and yes, it is hard to write a song like that and still hit the mainstream so that everyone can relate. Occasionally, I do write the odd song that makes more sense for me but can still work on a commercial level. Luckily for me, “Fire with Fire” was one of those songs that just worked. It seemed to almost fall out of the sky, and everything about it worked lyrically; magazines such as yourselves liked it, and it went down well live too. I don’t always write songs that quickly or easily, but that one just worked out great.
On the subject of working quickly, we believe there was one track off the album, “Fool” that was written in one take?
Laura- It was a song I had written a while ago with a friend, and then when I was in the studio with my producer, we did it at the very end of the recording process. It was the last song we did. He said that he was just going to play it, and then maybe we could just sing it live, and the timing was very free. We did it, maybe, two or three times, and we ended up using the second take.
Of course, looking back, The Beatles recorded their entire first album, “Please Please Me,” in 10 hours on February 11, 1963. The length of time something takes to complete is not always indicative of quality, and the studio time is expensive too. You can overwork things.
Laura- You can overwork a song, yes. You don’t always have the luxury of time to try it in so many ways. When I make a record, I decide what I want it to sound like and the direction it will take. And that is what we are going to do. Later down the line, I might reimagine it, but I don’t always have the time or money to spend forever on a track.
And how does Laura, as a songwriter, view the advent of technologies such as AI in the songwriting and development of music?
Laura- I think AI is a bit scary, and it certainly can undermine the role of the songwriter. AI can write things and make us believe a human has written them. I think it is worrying that the computer is able to create lyrically something that can fool us, but I don’t believe they can create with human imagination. Sometimes I do use it to spark ideas and get my brain working. I do use it as a thinking partner rather than a tool. There are certainly elements that can make our lives easier, but there are also other parts that are scary.
Moving onto the live show now, has Laura retained the same group of musicians from last year, or is she touring with different musicians tour-to-tour? And what can she tell us about the set list?
Laura- I have my set band (see the start of this feature), who are pretty much with me now. And we are adding Eddie Smith on keyboards for three of the shows; that might make the sound a bit richer, I hope. As for this tour, I did tour the UK in February, when I played the whole album. Since then, I have been writing and have a good collection of new songs. I will probably put about four of the new songs into the set, plus the material from the album, and about three, maybe four, of the new songs. Maybe there will be some songs reimagined, and I include some covers. I always include a cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Arkansas,” and I’ll be throwing in another Eagles cover on this tour, which I’m looking forward to trying out! I’m looking forward to mixing things up. I’m touring independently this time, but there were a lot of venues from last time that were asking me back. For example, Acapela, this wonderful venue in Cardiff, has been asking me to play for a while (Laura is there on October 17th, with special guest John Adams; you can directly get tickets here for this one), and there were just some venues that I really wanted to do. We seemed to book up the six dates really quickly, and then it turned into a tour!
Last time, we managed to see Laura at one of our favourite venues, The Cluny in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. That is a great venue, and Newcastle is such an amazing city.
Laura- I did play there, and it is a great venue. I also love Newcastle, but the Cluny was booked, but we are playing this lovely blues bar in the North East called “Blues at the Bay” as part of this tour, and we will be there in Stockton on the 20th. Currently, I am playing on a cruise ship near Norway! I tend to do one cruise a month, and the venues on board are amazing, and the sound is so good.
As a last fun question, what musician, alive or dead, would Laura most like to head off to have a meal with?
Laura- Dolly Parton.
Dolly Parton is such a hero! And she has just done this great version of “Let it Be” with Ringo and Paul; has Laura heard it?
Laura- I liked it a lot. She is totally iconic, and I love her to bits.
And as a last question, what can we watch out for in the coming months from Laura Evans?
Laura- I have lots of new music in the pipeline, and there will probably be a new single released at the end of the tour, maybe at the end of October. I will be releasing a new album sometime in 2024. It is all recorded and ready to go to the studio. They exist in demo tape form at the moment. I have three properly recorded and another seven as demo tapes.
So come on, everybody, pop on those cowboy boots and unleash your inner country blues. It’s time to catch up with Laura Evans again and support a great independent UK artist.
The link to the Laura Evans website is here.
The ticket sales for all the UK concerts are here
You can stream her 2022 album, “State of Mind,” here.
By Lorraine Foley
Mark C. Chambers
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