Laurie McClain | The Trumpet Vine, a tribute to Kate Wolf

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The Trumpet Vine, a tribute to Kate Wolf

by Laurie McClain

"An incredible performance with Kate's songs. Kate was a dear friend of ours and did several radio programs for us over the years... we were moved in a way that was not expected... thanks for a wonderful cd"-ROZ & HOWARD LARMAN, FOLKSCENE
Genre: Folk: Gentle
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1. Eyes of a Painter
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5:05 $1.20
2. Across the Great Divide
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3. Green Eyes
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4. We've Loved Away the Night
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3:26 $1.20
5. Like A River
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3:34 $1.20
6. Here in California
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7. Old Jerome
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8. Cornflower Blue
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9. The Trumpet Vine
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10. These Times We're Living In
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11. Give Yourself to Love
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12. The Wind Blows Wild
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13. Back Roads
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14. Unfinished Life
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
TO BUY THIS CD FROM CDBABY BY PHONE: Just call 1-800-BUY-MY-CD with any major credit or debit card.

NEWS - NOV. 2004: Laurie was a top three finalist in over 50 music genres for FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR along with Jen Slocumb (of duo Martha's Trouble) and 1st place winner Kathy Fisher (of band Fisher) in the 2004 Just Plain Folks International Music Awards; and Laurie's cd The Trumpet Vine, a tribute to Kate Wolf, took third place for Best Americana Album!

"Laurie's voice feels like my favorite moisturizer. It sinks in quickly and starts to heal. Her songs go deep and they stay with you."
- Suzy Bogguss

QUOTES FROM REVIEWS OF THE TRUMPET VINE:

MAVERICK MAGAZINE, UK:
Just as Nanci Griffith has a born with honesty that is irresistible, so laurie, sometimes fragile as gossamer and often tough as iron, meets the challenge with true grit. imagine Gram Parsons tarred with a brushstroke or two of Dar Williams relish and you will have a handle on what what it is that manages to lift this beyond the simple Californian folkiness of the original.

PUREMUSIC.COM:
"Kate Wolf's classic California folk music is lovingly and soulfully praised and preserved in this fabulous tribute record. It's a fantastic job, and we think it will itself become a folk classic, it's that good."

DIRTY LINEN MAGAZINE:
"The music of the late California writer Kate Wolf has been interpreted by many musicians. This new release from singer/songwriter Laurie McClain may just turn out to be one of the best and most enduring efforts. McClain's gentle and not-too-polished voice and thoughtful style allow her to put her own stamp on Wolf's material while showing respect and affection for the writer's words and intent. There's not a throwaway cut on the disc; each is clearly a work of love and respect."

FROM RAMBLES MAGAZINE, IRELAND:
"Laurie McClain cannot be praised too highly for bringing us this CD. The songs here are sung as only a person with true feeling for the lyrics and music can. With few tracks under four minutes long, they still hold the ear, mind and heart. It's only January but I truly feel that I have found my album of 2004. Her beautiful voice brings the inspired lyrics and music to life and gives us a gift in this century."

SING OUT! MAGAZINE:
"A thoroughly professional recording, warm, rich... authentic, yet unique enough to be her own... Fresh instrumentation and arrangements work to make The Trumpet Vine a valid tribute to Kate's music that should be welcomed."

SINGER MAGAZINE:
"Laurie's voice has a raw, genuine classic folk resonance that pulls you into every song... She has interpreted Kate Wolf beautifully."

FOLK & ROOTS MAGAZINE, UK:
...whilst McClain has done justice to Wolf's songs she also clearly sings them with a genuine heartfelt connection to the lyrics, combining clarity, compassion and a tenderness in her delivery. This is one CD that is not going to move far away from my deck in the foreseeable future, and it's certainly inspired me to make the effort to discover more of Wolf's music."

ROCKZILLA.NET
"It's clear that Laurie McClain takes the meanings and nuances of Kate Wolf's words and melodies into her own soul, and presents them here for all of us to appreciate. She is a beautiful singer."

ROZ & HOWARD LARMAN, FOLKSCENE (KPFK, LOS ANGELES)
"An incredible performance with Kate's songs. Kate was a dear friend of ours and did several radio programs for us over the years. Sometimes it is very jolting to hear someone do another songwriter's songs. You first reaction is to compare the performer to the songwriter... We must be honest with you, we were moved in a way that was not expected. Thank you so much for a wonderful cd."

RIK JAMES, DJ, KGLT BOZEMAN, MT
"A really, really lovely grouping of Kate Wolf tunes, and so well sung and arranged."

COMPLETE REVIEWS:

FROM MARCH 2003 ISSUE OF PUREMUSIC.COM:
"Kate Wolf lives. Her songs do, at least, and her classic California folk music is lovingly and soulfully praised and preserved in this fabulous tribute record. It's a fantastic job, and we think it will itself become a folk classic, it's that good.

Laurie McClain is an unusual singer songwriter, she can see and speak with such a childlike vision and sincerity that she cuts through the facade of self involved maturity. Surely it was this quality and her lovely voice that inspired several friends to tell her she ought to consider doing a Kate Wolf record, at a time when she'd long dreamed of doing that very thing. We can think of no voice, no person, and no songwriter better suited to the task of paying tribute to Kate Wolf.

I always get through the first three in fine spirit, but by the time she starts singing "We've Loved Away the Night," the sheer beauty of it tumbles my defenses, and I let go. Laurie is incredible with this material, whose essence is pristine. Her husband Charlie Chadwick is one of Nashville's finest musicians, and he plays upright or electric bass on all the tracks. He also recorded, mixed and mastered the record, and did a masterful job. He's bound to become a highly sought-after producer in this town.

So many great players and singers appear on The Trumpet Vine. The guitar gallery is mighty: Kenny Vaughan, Bill Hullet, Bryan Sutton, Richard Smith, and Muriel Anderson, wow! Even Nina Gerber (Kate's guitarist for many years) appears, on "Green Eyes." Each fantastic player is so understated, so true to the material. And there are even more great singers, but those are just two of many reasons we urge you to buy this destined recording. The first, of course, is that the songs of Kate Wolf are treasures of modern folk music.

Laurie McClain is one of our favorite singer songwriters, as a person and an artist. When you visit her site, be sure to treat yourself to the pleasure of her previous CD, The Child Behind My Eyes, if you haven't already. And buy The Trumpet Vine, it will make your home an even more beautiful place."

FROM DIRTY LINEN MAGAZINE (DEC. 2003/JAN. 2004 ISSUE)
"The music of the late California writer Kate Wolf has been interpreted by many musicians. This new release from Nashville singer/songwriter Laurie McClain may just turn out to be one of the best and most enduring efforts. McClain's gentle and not-too-polished voice and thoughtful style allow her to put her own stamp on Wolf's material while showing respect and affection for the writer's words and intent. She has chosen 14 tunes from a broad range of the prolific songwriter's work. Particularly outstanding are the gentle love song 'Cornflower Blue,' the ballad "We've Loved Away the Night,' a Wolf poem that McClain set to music, and the classic 'Accross the Great Divide.' There's not a throwaway cut on the disc; each is clearly a work of love and respect crafted by McClain and her bassist/producer husband Charlie Chadwick. Stuart Duncan adds outstanding fiddle work on several cuts; Pam Tillis, Nina Gerber, Kathy Chiavola, and Bryan Sutton are among those who sit in."

FROM JANUARY 2004 ISSUE OF RAMBLES (IRELAND), BY NICKY ROSSITER:
"The Trumpet Vine is a beautiful CD subtitled A Tribute to Kate Wolf featuring 14 excellent tracks composed by her. Singer Laurie McClain encourages listeners to seek out information on the late singer at the website maintained in her memory.

The songs here are sung as only a person with true feeling for the lyrics and music can. I will admit my prior ignorance of Wolf's music, but I intend to rectify that immediately.

I usually pick one or two tracks from a CD during a review to concentrate on. With The Trumpet Vine I cannot do this -- not because there are no outstanding tracks but rather every single track is top class. The delivery, the backing, the lyrics and the feeling are impressive on each and every song. If Wolf's music sees a revival of interest, McClain is to blame.

With few tracks under four minutes long, they still hold the ear, mind and heart. "Across the Great Divide" in particular is a fantastic song that needs to get airplay. Not only does it offer a great example of good composition and performance, it is an antidote to most of the rubbish that does get to clog so many airways. Listen to "We've Loved Away the Night" and tell me this is not a classic love song.

It is incredible to note that these songs are more than two decades old. They sound as fresh and relevant as the 21st century. Listening to this album I want to go out to find "Old Jerome" -- so real is the imagery described by Wolf's words and McClain's voice. The title track is enhanced by a duet with Jerry Rau, and the cello will make your hair stand on end. You can keep it on end by moving on to the track "The Wind Blows Wild" and its opening verse.

OK, I will pick a favourite. "Give Yourself to Love" is driving me crazy today, playing it over and over, but it could be any other track tomorrow.

Get this CD or you will be the poorer. It's only January but I truly feel that I have found my album of 2004. Laurie McClain cannot be praised too highly for bringing us this CD. Her beautiful voice brings the inspired lyrics and music to life and gives us a gift in this century. Thank you, Laurie, even the fantastic artwork on the cover is worth the cost of the album. One pity is the lack of printed lyrics."

FOLK AND ROOTS MAGAZINE, UK:
"Whilst McClain is a resident of Nashville these days her origins are in Nebraska where as a teenager she was first exposed to the acoustic Country-Folk of artists such as John Prine, Merle Haggard and Kate Wolf etc and by the time she was 17 she was performing covers in local bars. Over the next two decades or so she combined parenthood with local gigs in Nebraska until lifes journey took her to Nashville in the mid 90's. 'Twas here that McClain (re-)established herself in the local music community.

As mentioned above one of McClains early influences was the late Kate Wolf, which lead to her recording "The Trumpet Vine", a collection of Wolf's songs taken from the late 70's and 80's before Wolf's untimely death. Guesting on this recording are a number of familiar names including Anne Hills and Carter Wood, being two perhaps that people this side of the pond will more readily recognise. As well as the above mentioned McClain's vocals are accompanied by a range of harmony vocals, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, accordian, cello, however McClain's singing and interpretation of the songs is very much centre stage. Its often the case with a tribute album that the recording might fail to do justice to both artists, missing something of the original and failing to bring out the individuality and originality of the artist making the recording. This is definitely not the case here, whilst McClain has done justice to Wolf's songs she also clearly sings them with a genuine heartfelt connection to the lyrics, combining clarity, compassion and a tenderness in her delivery. This is immediately obvious with the opening track of the CD "Eyes of Painter" and is in evidence throughout the album, whilst it is difficult to indicate any highlights on what is a thoroughly enjoyable release (pretty much each track could be defined in such a way), however perhaps the above mentioned "Eyes of a Painter" and "Cornflower Blue" both of which are available to listen too on her website are good examples of the album as a whole.
Both as a compilation and an introduction to Wolf's music (and McClains) "The Trumpet Vine" is well worth the investment having a listing of 14 tracks and clocking in at somewhat over an hour. This is one CD that is not going to move far away from my deck in the foreseeable future and its certainly inspired me to make the effort to discover more of Wolf's music.
It is worth mentioning at this point that McClain has also released an album, "the child behind my eyes", of her own music, again on this recording McClains own songwriting and music abilities are very clear along with the influences of Wolf etc."

FROM LOUDEN TEMPLE, MAVERICK MAGAZINE, UK:
"With a salt n` pepper vocal style that fairly leaves its mark and a straight down the middle delivery that`s refreshingly plain jane, Laurie is possibly as good a person as any to reinterpret the powefully charged work of the wonderful and sadly missed Kate Wolf. Swaddled in a more fluffy styling these are songs that would and could be badly mishandled. They need to be sung by someone with a true understanding and enough smeddum to know to go for a matt velvet rather than gloss finish. Just as Nanci Griffith has a born with honesty that is irresistible, so laurie, sometimes fragile as gossamer and often tough as iron, meets the challenge with true grit. imagine Gram Parsons tarred with a brushstroke or two of Dar Williams relish and you will have a handle on what what it is that manages to lift this beyond the simple Californian folkiness of the original.

She is a Californian herself but arrived in Nashville via a sojourn in far flung Nebraska, that helped to mould her own distinctive style. There, she absorbed, among others, the recordings, of Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, John Prine, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, and Kate Wolf.

That kate made more of an impression than the rest is understandable and unmistakable, as anyone who has heard mcclain`s own material will testify. She has the same`s, get your hands dirty approach to songwriting. As others know, sometimes the arrow misses the spot entirely; sometimes it hits bullseye. There are neither near misses here nor shots that fall short of the mark. Wolf`s 1982-vintage anthem like, "Give Yourself To Love," is as infectious as George Harrison in "My Sweet Lord" mode, possessing that spiritually uplifting quality that penetrates deeper than usual. If you need any further cajoling, let`s just say among those who have joined her fan club are Pam Tillis, Bryan Sutton, and Stuart Duncan, all of whom are to be found lending a helping hand here. enough said?

I love this from start to finish. Everyone who has ever wanted to support a worthy cause should let this mother of three know she is something special. It's a gem of a cd. Buy one for your brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, friends at work, boyfriends and girlfriends. They`ll thank you."


FROM BONNY HOLDER OF ROCKZILLA.NET:
"'The trumpet vine grew in the kitchen window
And bloomed bright orange on the wall
You sat in the morning light, holding a guitar
As the first summer rains began to fall

Like the gentle rain drops
Your words fell in the air
Making things so clear
As we quietly sat there
It reminded me of other times
You had come before
And brought a song or just walked in
Through the kitchen door
Now it seems the truest words I ever heard from you
Were said at kitchen tables we have known
Cause somehow in that warm room with coffee on the stove
Our hearts were really most at home

Sitting at the table lookin' hard at you
Catchin' up on stories of the things we'd tried to do
It seemed we really said the most
When we didn't talk at all
Let the songs speak for us like
Sunlight on the wall


Now as we come and go in sunshine and rain
Some years are seen more clearly than the rest
And if it weren't for kitchen songs and mornings spent with friends
We all might lose the things we love the best

I can see you sitting there
Beneath the trumpet vine
Sunlight through the window
In the kitchen in my mind

You came when you were needed
I could not ask for more
Than to turn to find you walkin'
Through the kitchen door'

(From the song, The Trumpet Vine, by Kate Wolf)

Kate Wolf, a California singer-songwriter, died in 1986 after being stricken with leukemia. She was 44 years old. That her lyrics still resonate so long after her death reinforces what a lot of people thought when she was alive, that she was a remarkable songwriter. She was a wonderful singer, too, with a clear, sad alto. She recorded at least a dozen albums before she died, and her family maintains a website at www.katewolf.com. Since 1996, the annual Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival has been held in Laytonville, California.

Rockzillaworld writer Marianne Ebertowski in an interview found Kate Wolf's long-time guitarist, Nina Gerber, as saying this about Kate: "...The first time I heard Kate play and sing, I was touched on such a deep level, moved to tears and not even knowing why. Kind of like seeing a beautiful sunset. Sure, the colors are nice, but there's something more going on, something non-verbal and deep. Up until then, spending time with my horse was the only thing that touched my heart. It made me feel things on a deeper, unexplainable level. I think Kate was the first human to break through the walls that I had put up around my heart for safety, or whatever reason we use to build walls."

Nina Gerber plays lead guitar on one of the songs on this CD, "Green Eyes."

As Wolf herself wrote in a song, she was "...precious, and so quickly gone." Like the late Dave Carter, Kate Wolf's lyrics often seem precedent of her early death. "It's gone away, yesterday, and now I find my on the mountainside, where the rivers change direction, across the Great Divide." Her kitchen metaphor works for the welcome, lovingly descriptive songs. Laurie McClain realizes this, and sings all scrambled eggs and homemade biscuits, and maybe just a sip or two of brandy.

Let me confess a little something to you. Each review I do requires a lot of listening, and a measure of self-examination. Now, I'm a little older than the other Rockzillaworld writers ("senior reporter," get it?), so I am speaking only for myself, but here it goes: As the hormonal influences wanes in one's (ahem) middle years, one develops an appreciation for music of a kinder, gentler nature. At a certain time in your life, you are drawn to "the edge." Then things happen, often sad things, and you realize that you're thinking: "The edge? Been there, done that, and the t-shirt is much too tight."

Ask Willie, Johnny, Merle, Buddy, Toni, I'll bet they would agree with me. Remember that old- old Joan Baez album cover with the Bob Dylan poem on it about "ugly is the only beauty I understand," or something like that? Ask Bob. Bet he's changed his mind.

'It's a journey of my soul that I am taking,
one that only goes from the cradle to the grave.'
("Unfinished Life", Kate Wolf)

Comfort is a major deal to people in my stage of life. I like to hear music that comforts, inspires, tickles, and reinforces my belief that life should be good. I'm not really interested in "dating" anymore. Mating angst?? Antler-clacking? Pissing contests?? Can't we all just get along? People should be friendly. Quality of life should be nice. Food should be slow. The rest of life should be savored.

Enter The Trumpet Vine. I got it in the mail from Laurie McClain herself, with a charming little note. I could tell from the packaging that Ms. McClain is completely sincere. I carried the disc over to the CD player, and invoked the goddess of recorded music: "Please, don't let me hate this." It's such a bummer when you want to like an artist but, by virtue of your personal taste, you simply do not.

I can't find a single thing I don't like on this CD. It does justice to its source, and to the sensibility of the listener. Laurie McClain doesn't sound at all like Kate Wolf; Laurie's voice is higher, sweeter, just as plaintive but in a different register. If I had to compare her with Kate, and I suppose I do, I'd say that Kate had more authority in her voice. Laurie, on the other hand, has a true vulnerability in it that may not come across on the first play. Her players (including Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, the wonderful Anne Hills, Jerry Rau, Pam Tillis, Julie Adams and others) are first-rate.

I'm going to use the "p- word" now: this record is PRETTY. No, I don't mean lacking cojones. It's clear that Laurie McClain takes the meanings and nuances of Kate Wolf's words and melodies into her own soul, and presents them here for all of us to appreciate. She is a beautiful singer, and her husband Charlie Chadwick's production should make her very proud. I hope Kate's fans embrace this effort to their many fond hearts. Her delivery, in her own way, is as good as Kate's. I wouldn't say that frivolously.

There is so much clarity and goodness in this record that it takes several playings to sink in, in terms of appreciating the very real skills of the musicians and production. I felt that same way about the music of Dead Reckoner Tammy Rogers when I first heard her. There's a little of Tammy in Laurie, a tiny bit of Melanie (I LOVE Melanie), and I can also hear Kimmie Rhodes and Eva Cassidy, but I'm just trying to give you a hint about what you may find on this CD. McClain sounds uniquely like herself.

Since I'm clearly in that gramma mood, as so many of us are, I have to say that I thought the children singing on "Give Yourself To Love" is a wonderful touch. I usually hate kids on records, but this is the exception to the rule. And I love the CD cover!, the picture of Laurie playing guitar at her kitchen table. Is that a trumpet vine at the window? Her daughter Sarah took the original picture? How nice! No, I'm not being sarcastic. I love this CD. It speaks to me in more ways that one. Good job, Laurie McClain."

"You came when you were needed
I could not ask for more
Than to turn to find you walkin'
Through the kitchen door."
(From the song The Trumpet Vine, by Kate Wolf)
You can contact Bonny Holder at http://www.bonny@rockzilla.net

FROM MIKE WILLIAMS, SIX-CHAIR PICKIN' PARTY, NASHVILLE, TN:
"Do you get a 'Oh, yes!' sensation when a music verse or chorus, or even one line, thrills you? You'll enjoy 'Oh, yes!' for a solid hour when you hear Laurie McClain's The Trumpet Vine, a Tribute to Kate Wolf.

On this CD, talented singers harmonize, including Pam Tillis, Anne Hills, Kathy Chiavola and Donna Henschell. And Laurie and her co-producer/husband Charlie Chadwick have brought in superb musicians -- including Kate Wolf's favorite guitarist, Nina Gerber and acclaimed fiddle player Stuart Duncan -- to create a rich acoustic tapestry and groove that these songs deserve.

Above it all, rises Laurie McClain's surprising voice -- tenderness, vulnerability and hope -- something in Laurie's voice and heart dances like an old partner with Kate's beautiful songs.

A CD like The Trumpet Vine comes along only once in a rare while. No matter what else Laurie McClain does with her career - and she's a fine songwriter in her own right - this CD is a "lifework" recording for her, and a great gift to everyone who lost Kate Wolf too soon.

Laurie McClain is singing Kate Wolf brand new, and Kate's ghost is smiling at every note."

FROM PETER MASSEY, GREEN MAN REVIEWS:
The first thing that immediately strikes you when listening to Laurie McClain is that she is a polished, seasoned performer that you have been listening to for many years, but in point of fact unless you live in Lincoln, Nebraska, you probably haven't. Laurie must be one of their best-kept secrets! Originally from California, but these days living in Nashville, Tennessee, Laurie has been singing for over 25 years -- it only in recent years after raising her three daughters she has re-discovered the folk venue scene -- house concerts, festivals & coffee-houses and consequently recorded some of her songs. Laurie sings beautifully with just that little bit of southern country twang in her accent; you can almost feel the sunshine in her voice.

She has recently formed the Laurie McClain Band, in which Laurie plays acoustic guitar & harmonica, with Sergio Webb on acoustic & electric guitar; Jeff Gilkinson on cello, harmonica and banjo; Rick Lonow on light drums and percussion; and Charlie Chadwick on upright bass and cello. However on this recording she has used a lot of guest musicians, namely Julie Adams (cello), Bryan Sutton (guitar and mandolin), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Kenny Vaughan (guitar), Muriel Anderson (guitar), Tim Sergent (Dobro), Nina Gerber (lead guitar), Bill Hullett (lead guitar), Mike Zickovich (accordion), Richard Smith (guitar), Catherine Styron Marx (piano), and Jody Nardone (Wurlitzer), albeit each on different tracks. Backing / harmony vocals are supplied by Pam Tillis,Lona Heins, Shara Johnson, Carter Wood, Larry Hazelbaker, Donna Henschell, Kelly Mulholan, Mike Williams, Tom Mitchell, The Angel Choir, Anne Hills, Kathy Chiavola, and Gerry Rau, but again not all on every track. The overall sound is very subtle with just the right amount of accompaniment for the songs. With her experience and talent, it is only fitting that Laurie should choose to release this, only her third album, The Trumpet Vine, sub-titled 'A tribute to Kate Wolf'. It seems a lot of her fellow Nashville musicians felt the same way.

Kate Wolf, California folk singer-songwriter, sadly died from acute leukaemia in 1986 at the age of only 44, just as she was reaching national acclaim. It seems incredible that Kate Wolf wrote close to 200 songs, although she only recorded about 60 of them. Her influence can still be seen in contemporary country and folk singers of today. Kate literally lived her life for her music. I believe at one point in her career, when times were hard, she lived in an old car. Other artists have recorded many of her songs, one of the most popular being 'Give Yourself to Love' a gentle song about conquering fear of intimacy and opening up the heart. It was written for two good friends on the afternoon of their wedding. Kate had a couple hours to kill before the wedding so she went into a bedroom with her guitar, closed the door and wrote it. She sang it at the ceremony, and her friend Nadine who was getting married cried, as did the minister. I have lost track of the number of times I have heard similar tales of how a simple human emotion, on the spot as it were, often sparks off the making of a really good song.

The song at track 4 is 'We've Loved Away the Nights'; the words are by Kate Wolf, but the tune is written by Laurie. It sits beautifully with the rest of the album, and demonstrates the feel that Laurie has for Kate's songs. Most people will already be familiar with Kate's songs. The songs Laurie has chosen for this album include 'Eyes of a Painter', 'Across the Great Divide', 'Green Eyes', 'Like a River', Here in California', 'Old Jerome', Cornflower Blue', 'These Times We Are Living In', 'Give Yourself To Love', 'The Wind Blows Wild', 'Back Roads', Unfinished Life' and of course the title track, 'The Trumpet Vine'. This track has a nice touch on it with Jerry Rau in a duet with Laurie. Jerry Rau was one of the first to recognise Kate's songs when he recorded 'The Trumpet Vine' on his 1980 LP Tracking Down The Feeling.

All in all, this is one of the nicest collections of a songwriter's work I have had the pleasure to listen to. This really is a fine album produced by a singer that deserves wider acclaim. Laurie McClain sings with a 'down home' honesty in her voice, and her choice of material indicates experience learnt from the University of Life. I recommend you buy this album, you won't be disappointed."


*****

FROM LAURIE: WHY I MADE THIS ALBUM:
In the mid 1990's I was up in Minneapolis to do some shows with my friend Jerry Rau, a Minneapolis based singer/songwriter, who I've known since I was 17, and used to sneak in the bars to hear in Lincoln, NE, where I grew up. I was walking around Jerry's apartment singing "Across the Great Divide." I'd picked up a chorus in my head from a Nanci Griffith tape someone made for me. I had assumed it was one of Nanci's songs.

Jerry heard me and said, "Kate Wolf was forty when she wrote that song." I said, "Who's Kate Wolf?" He said, "Oh, my," and pulled out a box from his closet filled with her vinyl records, signed by Kate to him. He was the first person beside Kate to record one of her songs, and it was The Trumpet Vine. She tracked him down at a show in Minneapolis at the Extemp to meet him and to thank him, and they became friends. He hadn't been able to sing one of her songs for almost ten years, since the day she died.

That day in Jerry's apartment, I listened to Kate Wolf for the first time, and felt instantly connected to her music. I fell in love with her songs and her voice. That night Jerry and I played a split bill at a pizza parlor in Minneapolis, and Jerry sang two Kate Wolf songs.

Shortly after that, I started performing a few Kate Wolf songs in my shows, and it wasn't long before I started to dream of making a tribute record of her songs. I thought that someday I would, but I didn't know when, I didn't know if it was even something I dare do.

One day in January 2002, as I was getting ready to record my next cd of my own material, my friend Mike Williams called me and said that he and his longtime partner, Kathy, had been talking, and they thought I should make a record of Kate Wolf songs, and had I ever heard of her?! They had no idea that was a dream I'd carried around for several years. I decided it was time to record it. Jerry sings a duet with me on The Trumpet Vine, which is a song about friends sharing songs at the kitchen table. It seemed like the perfect title track.
Biography
NEWS - NOV. 2004: Laurie was a top three finalist in over 50 music genres for FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR along with Jen Slocumb (of duo Martha's Trouble) and 1st place winner Kathy Fisher (of band Fisher) in the 2004 Just Plain Folks International Music Awards; and Laurie's cd The Trumpet Vine, a tribute to Kate Wolf, took third place for Best Americana Album!
___

Nashville based singer/songwriter Laurie McClain lived the first 12 years of her life in Los Angeles, and then her family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska. Lonely in her new surroundings, she begged her father for a guitar because she wanted to learn the song "Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen. Soon she began performing at friends' parties, school events and local open stages. Enchanted by the music of the folk era of the '60s and early '70s, artists like Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell & Neil Young, to name a few, Laurie learned to play hundreds of songs. She was 18 when she wrote her first song.

Laurie landed her first paying gig at age 17, at the Freedom Lounge at the Town & Country Motel in Lincoln, Nebraska -- six nights a week, Monday through Saturday, four sets a night, for $125 a week. Except for a performance at the 1986 Boulder Folk & Bluegrass Festival, she proceeded to play in nearly every bar in Lincoln, Nebraska for the next several years before discovering the folk circuit concert scene in the mid '90s. By then she was a divorced mother of three, so she toured sporadically at first. Then in 1997, Laurie moved with her daughters to Nashville, TN, where she met producer/bass player Charlie Chadwick. He produced her first cd, critically acclaimed The Child Behind My Eyes.

Laurie and Charlie fell in love during the making of the album and were married in 2000. Charlie's support and encouragement have enabled Laurie to tour more consistenly, and she is quickly becoming a sought after act on the national folk circuit.

Laurie and Charlie co-produced her second cd in 2003, The Trumpet Vine, a stunning tribute to the late Kate Wolf, a brilliant singer/songwriter who passed away in 1985 of leukemia after a short but prolific 10-year recording career. Many wonderful musicians and backup singers contributed to this project, including: Bryan Sutton, Stuart Duncan, Nina Gerber, Pam Tillis, Anne Hills, Donna & Kelly of Still on the Hill, Jerry Rau & Muriel Anderson. Laurie wrote music to one of the songs from some lyrics Kate Wolf had left behind. The Trumpet Vine has received high praise from Dirty Linen magazine, Sing Out! magazine, Puremusic.com, Singer magazine, Folkscene Radio Show, Folk & Roots magazine (UK), and many other publications.

Laurie's recordings are played frequently on the folk and Americana radio stations across the U.S. and in several countries around the world. She is currently in the studio and her next cd, of original material, is due out in the winter of 2005.


Discography
2004 CD: Karen Mal & Laurie McClain, LIVE at the MAIN STREET CAFE in Homestead, Florida
2003 CD: The Trumpet Vine, a Tribute to Kate Wolf, 14 songs (WINNER FOR BEST AMERICANA ALBUM, 3rd PLACE 2004 JUST PLAIN FOLKS AWARDS)
2002 CD: (remix of 1999 recording) The Child Behind My Eyes, 14 songs
2000 CD: Live at the Purple Moon Coffeehouse, 13 songs
1995 CASSETTE TAPE: Live at the Purple Moon Coffeehouse (longer version of 2000 cd), 24 songs
1994 CASSETTE TAPE: We Were All Babies, 11 songs


Reviews


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ROZ & HOWARD LARMAN, FOLKSCENE (KPFK, LOS ANGELES)

An incredible performance!
An incredible performance with Kate's songs. Kate was a dear friend of ours and did several radio programs for us over the years. Sometimes it is very jolting to hear someone do another songwriter's songs. You first reaction is to compare the performer to the songwriter... We must be honest with you, we were moved in a way that was not expected. Thank you so much for a wonderful cd.

Ray Lewis

Smokin'! The very best.
The Trumpet Vine CD was enchanting, extraordinarily moving, and beautifully performed. I love every minute of it and have purchased several as gifts for some of my closest friends. Thank you so much.

Christene LeDoux, "little pumpkin music"

Beautiful, vulnerability in each breath, like the crackle of fresh snow...
I first met Laurie in Nashville at the Folk Alliance volunteer meeting. A friendly, unassuming person from the start, we traded CD's. She had her Tribute CD Preview and offered it to me.
We were both heading out and promised we'd listen as soon as we got in our cars. All I can tell you is I practically crashed my car the minute her lovely voice came out of my speakers. Totally overwhelmed by the vulnerability in each breath...and yes, as korny as it sounds...very much like the crackle of fresh snow. At one hand, I was hearing Kate's music come back to life...yet, Laurie also gives us her own voice and soul so fully, creating an original expression and interpretation that can only be described as breathtaking.
I highly recommend this CD not only because I consider Laurie a friend but truly, an absolute musical gem that should not stay under the radar for long.

David Kleiner


No one takes me back to "back to the land" like Kate Wolf. From the country road, the garden, the passage of time, three major chords and a relative minor or two, she created a lovely legacy of songs. Laurie McClain puts a real pretty shine on 14 Wolf melodies in her reverential tribute "The Trumpet Vine". The strength of the album is the exquisite acoustic sound engineered by Charlie Chadwick. I've rarely heard guitars so sweet; McClain's voice is a delicate instrument. Highlights include harmony from Pam Tillis on "Eyes of a Painter", fine lead from Nina Gerber (longtime Wolf collaborator) on "Green Eyes," Bryan Sutton's mandolin on "Like a River," and Muriel Anderson picking Pete Seeger's "Livin' in the Country" in "The Wind Blows Wild."

Craig's Music Club

Terrific Kate Wolf tribute
Who would have thought that an album composed almost entirely of covers would showcase an artist's talent better than her own original work? From the beginning, I could tell I was in the presence of quality. "Eyes of a Painter" uses violin and mandolin to bring texture to the story of a missed grandfather. "Across the Great Divide" is an uptempo piece and "Green Eyes" is a touching love song that McClain fills with emotion. But the most beautiful song is "We've Loved Away the Night," for which Laurie wrote music that fits Wolf's lyrics so well that it doesn't stand out from the rest. That pause after "I don't have to go" moves me every time. The professionalism of the musicians is evident, and the production of Charlie Chadwick, doesn't overwhelm. The title track is the centerpiece, with McClain's duet with Jerry Rau just begging to become a classic. As tribute albums go, The Trumpet Vine is close to perfection.