California Calling


What people are saying about Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards live performances and previous releases.

That segued right into one of the most refreshing sets I saw all week. Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards of Cambridge, Massachusetts, head-faked me into thinking they would be a swingy retro quartet, when in fact they're out there on the searching edge of chamber folk and minimalist pulse grass. From the risk of opening with an emotional four-way harmony ballad to the serene beauty of "California Is Calling" (the title track to an upcoming album that's been featured on the Bluegrass Situation), their close and complex harmonies and imaginative arrangements signified the best of folk right now.The Bluegrass Situation - Craig Havighurst

folk luminary, Laura CorteseBoston Globe

an unlikely heaven-sent artistic collision between Jackie Oates, Scott Skinner and ELO.R2 Magazine

You know it's been a great gig when time flashes by and the mesmerised audience sits glued to their seats, even after two encores.The Nottingham Post

powerful, gutsy and almost certainly going to make musical waves.fRoots

a celebration of American string playing par excellenceSonglines Magazine

...a fantastic fiddle player and vivacious vocalist.FATEA (UK)

Her string-centric, ambient-minded, fiddle pop has a darkness, an edge, and a passion...David Yockel Jr. - City Newspaper (Rochester)

Cortese crafts an acoustic wall of sound that propels her confident vocal delivery.Art Menius - (WMMT-FM, WCOM-FM, WCHL-FM)

This is potent, rich music that demands repeated listening.Art Menius - (WMMT-FM, WCOM-FM, WCHL-FM)

The title track is a tour de force of writing, performance, production, everything - a tune that can be played on commercial, public, and community radio from pop to folk to trad.Art Menius - (WMMT-FM, WCOM-FM, WCHL-FM)

the results are sublime: hearty vocals over rich, poppy layers of fiddlefolk, kickdrums, and harmony that make the heart sing and the feet ache to move, with a contemporary mix of traditional, classical, and indie elements that speak to Cortese's easy confidence at the crossroads of what modern folk is, and can be, at its best.Joshua Farber - Cover Lay Down

"Into The Dark," a fiddle-drenched, Americana gemEvan Schlansky - American Songwriter

grounded in the lush, joyous, gleeful sound of the collaborative at work and play, and built around Cortese's full-bodied, percussive, lusty fiddlework, her hearty yet oh-so-feminine vocals, and her playful, surprisingly deep songwriting.Joshua Farber - Cover Lay Down

Cortese's mix of modern and traditional styles creates an explosive sound that favors melody and rhythm over overtly technical performances. The momentum in songs like "Blow the Candle Out" propels the listener to a giddy plane where dancing is mandatory.John Wenzel~The Denver Post

Ambition often follows talent, and Laura Cortese has an embarrassment of both. Her open-armed approach to her art reveals a determination to spread the word about folk music and dance without watering down their distinctiveness.John Wenzel~The Denver Post

"Even The Lost Creek," a beautiful, spirited albumDan Gewertz~Boston Herald

"Even the Lost Creek" - her engaging, transfixing pop-folk debut.Dave Richards~ The Erie Times

Cortese's rich alto voice colors the Scottish and English traditional songs with very contemporary tonality and phrasing. She makes no attempt to imitate the antique feel of the Lomax field recordings, where she found several of them. Corey DiMario's jazz background ensures that where is present, there will be groove. Cortese is Berklee-trained, and perhaps that contributes to the concision and balance of her fiddling, whether she's blowing through the "West Mabou Reel" or "Devil in the Kitchen" at top speed or arabesqueing around the cello in "Hielen Laddie" and "The Mist Covered Mountains."Bill Chaisson~Dirty Linen

"Without surrendering the melodic grace that makes Celtic music so captivating, she coaxed ambient, techno-smart brush strokes from her fiddle."Boston Globe February 2004

"Technically brilliant yet warmhearted fiddling - sprinkled with urbane splashes off cool jazz and hot pop."Boston Globe January 2004

sign up for Laura's newsletter follow Laura Cortese on Tumblr follow Laura Cortese on YouTube follow Laura Cortese on Facebook follow Laura Cortese on Twitter