Laura Cantrell

Humming by the Flowered Vine' is the much-anticipated third album (and Matador debut) by Nashville-born, New York-based performer Laura Cantrell.

Produced by JD Foster (Richard Buckner, Marc Ribot), 'Humming by the Flowered Vine' features ten extraordinary songs both crafted and caught. As on her two previous albums, 'When the Roses Bloom Again' and 'Not the Tremblin' Kind,' Laura's own compositions are some of the highlights. "Khaki & Corduroy" is a meditation on being a transplanted Southerner in New York City, "California Rose" was inspired by the West Coast country music pioneer Rose Maddox, and "Old Downtown" draws on the story of World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York.

New York figures prominently in both Emily Spray's infectious "14th Street" and "Letters", a previously unreleased Lucinda Williams song dating back to her days as a struggling folk singer living in the city. The album also includes a version of the Appalachian murder ballad "Poor Ellen Smith," which was collected and published in the 1927 book American Mountain Songs by Laura's great, great aunt Ethel Park Richardson, a "songcatcher" from Chattanooga, TN, who went on to produce the NBC radio drama "Heart-throbs of the Hills" throughout the 1930s. The parallels between her and Laura's own life were a recent discovery for Laura.

Born and raised in Nashville, Laura moved to New York City to attend Columbia University, where she soon found herself hosting a weekly country music program on college station WKCR ("Tennessee Border") and singing in dorms and coffeehouses. After graduation, she recorded a CD and several singles with the band Bricks, featuring her college friend Mac McCaughan (who would later form Superchunk and Merge Records). A move to Brooklyn led to a friendship with John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants, who recruited her to sing on "The Guitar" on the band's 1992 album Apollo 18. He also offered to produce an EP of Laura's original songs for the Giants' "Hello CD of the Month Club" subscription service, which was originally released in June 1996 and reissued last year as The Hello Recordings.

In 2000. Laura's debut album, 'Not the Tremblin' Kind,' reached an international audience and was championed by legendary BBC DJ John Peel, who called it "my favourite record of the last ten years and possibly my life." She recorded five Peel Sessions and had three songs on his annual "Festive Fifty" for 2000. With the release of When the Roses Bloom Again in 2002, she was hand-picked by Elvis Costello to open 17 dates on his U.S. tour. Both albums also garnered four-star reviews in Rolling Stone, and led to appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, the Newport Folk Festival, World Caf, and Mountain Stage, as well as tours with folk legends Joan Baez and Ralph Stanley in the U.S. and U.K.

Laura is also the "proprietress" of the long-running Radio Thrift Shop on freeform WFMU, which airs every Saturday from noon-3:00 EST and is archived at

"As Laura Cantrell performed 'Khaki and Corduroy,' her sleepy-sad reflection on being a Southerner transplanted to New York City . . . the auditorium [Jazz at Lincoln Center] was awash with the kind of cosmic wistfulness that the best country and folk music can conjure when it dreams of the past."
” Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"Its Cantrell's voice. . . vulnerable and at times downright fragile . . . that evokes inner strengths as old as the hills and as tough as the tenements, a voice that begs to be heard."

” Richard Harrington, The Washington Post
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