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Transitions Abound: Lauren Calve Hinges on the Edge of Something New

Lauren Calve - Ticket Giveaway for The Tin Pan in Richmond on December 14, 2022
Lauren Calve - Ticket Giveaway for The Tin Pan in Richmond on December 14, 2022

When it comes to singer-songwriter, Lauren Calve, there is a calm, yet electric essence that feels ready for every and anything that comes her way. She has been singing throughout her life, but it wasn’t until her late 20’s that she found her niche within the sounds of Americana blues. Since finding her home base, her late-bloomer energy has spun a nice flow of momentum that has taken her far in a short amount of time.

While her early inspirations ran the gambit of singing women with raw, acrobatic voices like Mariah Carrey and Sheryl Crow, it was a CD of voice instructor Brett Manning (who famously coached Hayley Williams of Paramore) that vastly increased her dynamic rage. Once she made the shift from a constant falsetto head voice to the lower, powerhouse chest voice styles of country, folk, and blues, things changed drastically. “Strangely,” she recalls, “it was just one day when I was in my apartment in DC and the lyrics from my first release ‘Looking for the Water’ led me to discover what American roots music is and the power it holds.”

The fact that there was before time when Calve wasn’t singing with a country twang to her voice would be a surprise to anyone listening to that song or the remaining three tracks “Sweep”, “Hard”, and “Annie” off her debut EP, Between the Creek and the Tracks. Even that overarching title has the western blues mentality of the crossroads. Words and lyrics have incredibly transformative power in the hands of singers, and for Lauren it spawned the moment that she began to garner attention for her powerful vocals.

Since then, her creative process has flipped. Now, to find a melody, she often plays with a chord progression on the guitar to get her started and the lyrics come later. Modulating between finger picking, strumming, and slide work, she spans an impressive array of feels and tempos that give each of her songs a unique identity. With her follow-up releases, Light Dark in 2018 and Wildfire in 2020, she found that her songwriting style took on the form of vignettes where the primary through-line between songs on an album was simply that they were written around same time.

Lauren Calve - Photo by Shane Gardner
Lauren Calve - Photo by Shane Gardner

When looking at Wildfire, specifically, she says that “Each song acted as a study in a specific subgenre of Americana”. So, when you listen to it, each song feels like its own world or universe. The leading single, “Better Angels” takes the form of a coffeehouse ballad while “New Blues” and the title track, “Wildfire, dig into an electric feel that verges into the territory of rock n’ roll.

Her three bigger releases up to this point have felt this way. One-off songs that capture a specific character or feeling that stems from Calve’s real life experience. But recently, she notes that her mindset is starting to change. Without giving too much away, she says that her forthcoming album will have more connective tissue shared between songs and that she’s writing more from the outside looking in. With a more introspective approach to songwriting, it will be interesting to see how it diverges in structure from her previous releases. The album was recorded in Nashville with Dex Green, who was noted as someone who invaluable support to help define Calve’s new sound make the album sound like her, as she is in this moment. With her powerful vocals remaining at the center of each song’s expressive core, it is sure to be an impressive effort that we look forward to covering in 2023.

As we wait in anticipation for her next big release, Lauren continues to make moves in the realm of live shows and is specifically looking forward to getting a full band together to play at the Tin Pan in Richmond, Virginia on December 14, 2022. “Anytime I get to play with my full band it’s a special show” she says with a smile on her face, “There are 4 of us and they’re people who have come highly recommended to me or who I’ve seen many times and just wanted to play with them. It’s a dream team band in that way.”

Given that most of her live performances are done as a solo artist (just her voice and guitar), it’s exciting that audiences will get to experience her songs in a way that is closer to their recorded counterparts. “The last time we played we rehearsed the night before, and the next day when he got on stage it felt so powerful and real. I love playing with them because I get to play more electric guitar and lap steel. I get to pull out more of the rock, electric tinged songs out of the collection that I don’t normally get to play. I get to play on dynamics and extend certain moments.”

Armed with the resources to get the band together, she is looking forward to sharing this heightened energy like never before. “I also love playing in Richmond – such a cool town. And I’ve never played there with my full band before.” Tickets for the show are available for purchase, so be sure to grab them before they inevitably sell out. Alchemical Records is also excited to announce an opportunity for fans to win tickets for the show in an exclusive giveaway – just text TINPAN to (844)982-3263 to enter and win!

Lauren Calve holding a guitar on black background. Photo by Shane Gardner
Lauren Calve - Photo by Shane Gardner

As Lauren closes out the year with the electricity of live gigs with her band, she continues to look toward the future with excitement and gratitude. “I think because of the past few years, it’s undeniable that everyone and everything has changed” she says. “I feel like my artistic evolution is a microcosm. This upcoming show is a hinge between what I’ve done in previous releases and teasing some of the new album and that’s where I’m right now. Being the hinge between the old and the new, and I’m excited for people to take that ride with me. Transitions abound.”

Lauren Calve - Ticket Giveaway for The Tin Pan in Richmond on December 14, 2022
Lauren Calve - Ticket Giveaway for The Tin Pan in Richmond on December 14, 2022

Charlie Maybee

Charlie Maybee is a dancer, musician, educator, and writer based in Charleston, South Carolina who currently teaches with the Dance Program at the College of Charleston. His primary work as an artist is with his performing collective, Polymath Performance Project, through which he makes interdisciplinary performance art that centers tap dance as the primary medium of expression and research. He also currently plays rhythm guitar for the Charleston-based punk band, Anergy, and releases music as a solo artist under the name Nox Eterna.

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