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Mark Erelli has forged a colorful career by making the art of “being everywhere all the time” seem effortless. It’s hard to think of another artist who seems equally at home serving as a sideman for GRAMMY-winning artists like Paula Cole, Marc Cohn, and Josh Ritter, or producing albums for Lori McKenna, as he does writing and producing his own material, like 2019’s “By Degrees,” on which he was joined by a host of voices including Rosanne Cash and Sheryl Crow, and nominated for Song of the Year at the Americana Honors and Awards. His 2020 album Blindsided found Mark “nodding to another icon, heartland hero Tom Petty,” emphasizing “12-string guitar jangle and straightforward vocal hooks.” (Rolling Stone). An album in “the sweet spot” (Associated Press), Blindsided combines the exuberance of Erelli’s signature sound with the wisdom that comes with over 20 years of songwriting, capturing an artist at a point in his career where he is clearly digging deep and swinging for the fences.
Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards is nothing if not a culmination: the gathering of a select group of acoustic roots musicians at the zenith of their careers. Together, these women build something that is more than the sum of their already impressive parts. They create something wholly new–a fusion of the countless traditions and influences that they each bring with them into the creative process.
Best thought of as a collective rather than a fixed band, this ensemble has featured a rotating cast of unmatched talent over the years since its official founding in 2014: Valerie Thompson (cello), Jeni Magana, Zoe Guigueno, & Natalie Bohrn (bass), and Jenna Moynihan, Sumaia Jackson & Mariel Vandersteel (fiddle). And of course, at its core lies Cortese herself–serving as both the gravitational center around which the group organizes and the creative engine that fuels the compositions that emerge from it. Performing live in trio or quartet configuration, these artists produce music as rich and intricate as any symphony; as heartfelt and true as any country classic. Centered on the virtuosic string instrumentation of its members, Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards ties together driving rhythms, broad creative vision, and resonant harmonies to create music that sweeps you up in its current, carrying you away from your everyday worries and into the arms of its cathartic embrace.