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Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards’s new album California Calling opens on an ethereal note: on first track “The Low Hum,” a captivating banjo line gives way to sublime vocal harmonies, the track slowly building to a multi-string crescendo. There are moments like this all over California Calling, an album which sees the quartet diving deeply into a world of unorthodox arrangements and genre-bending sensibilities.
The band recorded the album with producer Sam Kassirer, known for his work with Lake Street Dive and Joy Kills Sorrow. The resulting LP seamlessly blends each band member’s singular talents, from Cortese’s Berklee-trained vocals to fiddler Jenna Moynihan’s modern Scottish sensibilities.
“I wrote the title track of California Calling at the abandoned piano in the apartment where I’d fallen in love, married and divorced,” Cortese says. “The piano hadn’t been tuned in years. I loved that it sounded as warbly as I felt. When you build yourself up again after a loss like that, everything must be examined. There is a temptation to discard the you that came before. And yet that is the one thing that must be maintained. This album is about finding my way.”