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Laurie McClain: Bio

While Americana Folk Singer/songwriter Laurie McClain accompanies herself expressively on guitar, ukulele and harmonica, it's her honey voice that soothes and her powerful lyrics that heal hearts. Reminiscent of 60s/70s folk, her songs are messages of hope for a weary world.

QUOTES:

"Laurie turns each venue into her own living room, and each listener into a new friend with her disarming humor and passionate performance. She is a gem of uniqueness and authenticity."-MICHAEL KEARNS
"Laurie's voice feels like my favorite moisturizer. It sinks in quickly and starts to heal. Her songs go deep and they stay with you."-SUZY BOGGUSS
"Will very much touch your emotions in a most valuable way."-STEVE FORBERT

"Laurie McClain is my favorite songwriter in the whole world."-DONNA MULHOLLAN (STILL ON THE HILL)
"Laurie is a true artist. She opens hearts and sings from a place of depth and love. She held my tough NYC audience with her masterful storytelling, strong lyrics and vulnerable voice, moving them to tears and laughter."-KATHRYN'S HOUSE CONCERT SERIES, NYC
"Laurie's voice has a raw, genuine classic folk resonance that pulls you into every song."-SINGER MAGAZINE

LONG BIOGRAPHY:
Born in southern California, a child of the sixties, Laurie announced to her family at age six she would be a singer when she grew up. The pop music radio of the late '60s carried a heavy dose of folk music, and Laurie gravitated to that sound. Her mother was a devoted Johnny Cash fan and together they watched the eclectic Johnny Cash Show each week. This is where she first saw artists like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, Melanie Safka & Merle Haggard perform live, which greatly influenced her musical tastes.

In 1970, when Laurie was 12, her family moved from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles back to her parents' birthplace, Lincoln, Nebraska. She heard a Joan Baez recording of the Leonard Cohen song, "Suzanne," and begged her father for a guitar so she could learn it. Soon after that Laurie began performing at junior high assemblies and friends' parties. At age 15 she began frequenting the local open stages in Lincoln. There she was exposed to an eclectic mix of folk, country, bluegrass and rock covers by obscure and well known songwriters.

By age seventeen, Laurie landed her first paying gig at a local bar called the Freedom Lounge, where she covered songs by Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Woody Guthrie, Joni Mitchell, John Prine, Kate Wolf, Jackson Browne and others.

Laurie began writing songs at age 18. She played the local clubs in the Lincoln, Nebraska area for over a decade before she began touring on the national folk circuit and playing house concerts, festivals & coffeehouses.

Laurie moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1997. In 1999, she released her first CD, THE CHILD BEHIND MY EYES, containing thirteen originals and an a capella version of Gillian Welch's and David Rawlings' "ACONY BELL." Marcia, Mike & Carol Calvert of Blazon Pearl sing harmony on ACONY BELL Jamie Hartford (son of John) appears on the recording playing electric guitar, mandolin, and singing harmony. Charlie Chadwick, a top session bass player in Nashville, produced THE CHILD BEHIND MY EYES.

Laurie's song, "ONLY FOUR," from THE CHILD BEHIND MY EYES, was chosen for the HOPE, MOTHERS HELPING MOTHERS compilation CD, with proceeds going to a women's and children's shelter charity called Project Hope. Other artists appearing on that CD include: Tish Hinojosa, Diane Zeigler, Sara Hickman, Suzzy Roche, and Eliza Gilkyson.

In January, 2003, Laurie released THE TRUMPET VINE, A TRIBUTE TO KATE WOLF. This 14-song CD has 13 Kate Wolf songs and one song, called "WE'VE LOVED AWAY THE NIGHT," that Laurie wrote music to some Kate Wolf lyrics. Musicians and harmony singers contributing their talent to this album include: Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, Pam Tillis, Anne Hills, Nina Gerber, Donna & Kelly Mulhollan of Still on the Hill, Muriel Anderson, Jerry Rau, Kathy Chiavola, Carter Wood, Tom Mitchell and more. 

In 2004, she released, along with singer/songwriter Karen Mal, a live CD entitled, KAREN MAL and LAURIE MCCLAIN LIVE at the MAIN STREET CAFE, recorded in Homestead, Florida in January of 2003.

In 2005, Laurie released COMPILATION, a 19-song retrospective group of songs from live & studio recordings.

In 2009 Laurie released ASCEND, a 14- song CD containing all original music written by Laurie.  Ascend recently was nominated for 4 awards, and took 3rd Place in the Just Plain Folks Awards Best New Folk Album for 2009.  The JPF Awards, nicknamed the "grassroots grammys" is the largest music awards in history, and in 2009 over 42,000 albums were submitted in over 50 genres.

In 2014, Laurie released LIVE AT THE PURPLE MOON 1995, from a live recording made at the Purple Moon Coffeehouse in Lincoln, Nebraska, containing 10 original songs plus Steve Forbert's "Search Your Heart," an a capella verison of Dar Williams' "When I Was A Boy," Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," and an a capella version of "How Can I Keep From Singing," a traditional Shaker song.