Feeling the Love
Even her fans admit that Laura Love, who will be performing with Jen Todd in Silver City on Sept. 9 in a benefit for the International Relations Center, is not a household name. She has never had a hit record. She plays fewer than a hundred dates a year. And yet, Love has thousands of fans worldwide, Billboard regularly includes her CDs on its annual top-10 lists ,and the first gig she ever played on the East Coast was at Carnegie Hall.
In the summer of 2004, Love released her ninth CD, "You Ain't Got No Easter Clothes," on KOCH Records, and became a published author when Hyperion Books published her memoir of the same title.
Love is an African-American funk bassist and singer, who is greatly influenced by blues and bluegrass, jazz, folk, gospel, reggae and country. She sometimes refers to her style as "folk-funk," "Afro-Celtic" or "hip-Alachian."
She comes by her interest in music naturally. Love's memoir tells of growing up in poverty and isolation in Nebraska in the 1960s. Her mother, Wini, had been a singer in her father's jazz band. Preston Love enjoyed a bit of success in the hot climate of Midwest jazz in the 1940s. He played sax with Count Basie, Lucky Millander and Johnny Otis and formed his own band in the 1950s. He fathered two girls with Wini but never married her, as he had his "real" wife and children to consider. Wini was not well and spent time in mental institutions while Laura and her sister bounced around in orphanages, foster homes, convents and homeless shelters. Laura was told that her father died when she was an infant and the book reveals a surprising turn of events as she comes of age.
After producing four CDs on her own label, Love signed a recording contract in 1997 with industry giant Mercury Records. With Mercury, she released two critically acclaimed CDs and went from selling a few thousand a year to more than 50,000. Not impressed with those numbers, though, Mercury dropped her. Love dusted herself off and released a series of CDs on the independent labels, Rounder Zoe and KOCH.
The Laura Love Duo pairs Love with her bandmate, Jen Todd, performing distilled versions of Love's band material, some of Todd's originals and a couple of surprising covers. Jen Todd was a founding member of the Seattle folk/pop band, 3 Track Mind.