Artist: Lauren Mann-Wildwood
“Honest & affectionate, with a little bit of whimsy,” is the sentiment behind songstress Lauren Mann’s latest album Dearestly (Wildwood, 2016). The songs are a poignant narrative of dark and light set against the backdrop of different landscapes, and chronicle years of touring and personal joys and struggles. Musically, the album travels from moments of sparse simplicity to bombastic choruses, anchored by Lauren’s vocal prowess and beautiful melodies.
The Calgary native, who has recently put down roots in British Columbia’s Southern Gulf Islands, started touring full time in 2011 with her first album Stories From Home, a collection of self-produced home recordings. She followed this with the 2012 release Over Land and Sea, produced by Aaron Marsh (Copeland, Person L) and called “a sonic tapestry saturated by sunlight,” by Exclaim Magazine. The diverse instrumentation and beautiful harmonies centered around Lauren’s gift of songwriting garnered the attention of listeners and critics alike, with the songs Weight of the World, Over Land and Sea, and I Lost Myself going into regular rotation on CBC Radio 2 nationwide. In 2014, Lauren and her band affectionately known as the Fairly Odd Folk, were the winners of the CBC Searchlight contest, rising to the top of over 4500 bands across Canada and named Canada’s best new emerging artist.
Since her start in 2011, Lauren has captivated audiences with an impressive live performance at over 650 shows across Canada and the United States. She has shared the stage with bands such as July Talk, Reuben and the Dark, The Strumbellas, Rusted Root, The Matinee, Balkan Beat Box, Phox, among others, and has set herself apart not just as a songwriter, but as an engaging performer. Washington Post named Lauren “one of the best indie-folk rockers that you’ve never heard of,” which is sure to change with the release of Dearestly and the 50 date cross-Canada releas tour in the fall of 2016.
Dearestly, released with a pay-what-you-feel digital download on July 8, 2016 and CD and vinyl on August 19, 2016, was produced by Josh Rob Gwilliam (Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Cowpuncher) and Howard Redekopp (Tegan and Sara, Mother Mother) and recorded at OCL Studios in Calgary in September 2015. The album explores dynamic and organic soundscapes and textures creating a sound that hints at influences from Kate Bush to the Beatles but at the same time is completely unique. It’s an expertly crafted journey through moments of joyous elation to haunting darkness, providing a depth and maturity to the foundation that was laid in the 2012 release Over Land and Sea. The songs are an honest insight into Lauren’s personal journey and experiences in the past four years, and establish her as an adept songwriter and performer.