Nancy LaMott News

March 24, 2008

Ask Me AgainGreat news from Lee Lessack and David Friedman about the recent Nancy LaMott CD release!

Dear Friends,

We are extremely excited to announce that “Ask Me Again” from LML Music artist Nancy LaMott has broken through to the Billboard Top 100 Jazz Charts! Entering the Chart last week at #12 and holding strong at #15 this week, the incredible support of her fans and friends across the country have placed her in the Top 20 for two weeks running alongside jazz legends Tony Bennett, Wynton Marsalis, and Diane Schurr. This event is made even more remarkable by the fact that it comes more than 12 years after her death, and is a tremendous milestone in our effort to fulfill the promise to see to it that the whole world hears Nancy sing.

Below is a message from Nancy’s Producer David Friedman with some exciting information about what’s coming in the future, and what we can do together now to keep the momentum behind “Ask Me Again” going and growing.

Thank you again for your support. You are, as always, the reason this is possible.

Lee Lessack

from David Friedman:

Dear Nancy LaMott Fans,

We are thrilled to see Nancy on the charts with “Ask Me Again.” It is a fantastic moment amidst years of hard work by countless people, and is a testament to how powerful and wonderful the support of her fans and friends has been.

Since the most effective promotion of Nancy’s music has always been a grassroots effort, we would greatly appreciate your help in spreading the word. If you would share this great news with all your friends and send this notice, or one of your own, to your entire email list with the request that your friends to do the same and keep the chain going, it would be a huge step forward in breaking Nancy through to millions of new fans in the same way Eva Cassidy broke through in 2001. Also included below is the Press Release about Nancy’s arrival on the Billboard Jazz Top 100. Feel free to share this Release with any media contacts you know.

We’re doing everything we can on this end; developing a movie, working on getting Nancy’s CD & DVD on QVC, preparing the next set of DVD’s for release, and contacting all the major publications we know. But it’s your one-on-one efforts that have put us in a position to do this, and as always, we’re grateful for your continued help and support. If you have any ideas as to how we might further promote Nancy, please write to Nancy’s Producer David Friedman at MIDDER

Thank you for your continued support. As always, let’s do this together!

David Friedman

Diva 5+1: Susan Werner

October 29, 2007

Susan Werner is one of the most amazingly versatile talents working today.  Although nominally a folk performer, she has a regular stint at the Bradstan, so I’ll designate her an honorary cabaret performer.  Not only is she as funny as a stand-up performer in her concerts, but she accompanies herself on piano and guitar.  She’s also a great writer and has an amazing CD called I Can’t Be New with an accompanying songbook that is a must for the cabaret library.  Locally Terri Allen has the song Much at All in her repertoire which has also been recorded by Lee Lessack.  Her latest CD is called The Gospel Truth and tackles issues of religion — from the point of view of a self-described “evangelical agnostic.” And lucky us,  she’ll be appearing at the Barns of WolfTrap on November 1st

I’ve modified the “5 Questions” slightly for her.  Here they are:

1.    Please describe a “perfect” performance experience that you’ve had. 

“perfect” almost always seems to happen as a result of a duet with somebody else – either singing a beatles ballad with lucy kaplansky, a song she and i hardly know, we just scribble out the words on paper with sharpie, and wing it… and i sing harmony, then she does…and we wind up someplace really lovely and vulnerable.  or with vance gilbert when i sing louie armstrong and he sings billie holiday, and we don’t know how or when we’re going to end the song, we just follow each other around singing, and the audience is in pieces laughing.  and there was one night with the harp (not harmonica, i mean the big stringed thing) player dee carstensen, and i, in boston.  we played something… an instrumental duet.. i was playing a grand piano.  and it was just – like we found our way to eachother – while we just happened to be in front of 1,000 people.  it was, well, kinda transcendent like.   i think the perfect moment has to meander through about ten other moments when the audience doesn’t know what’s going to happen, and neither do the performers.  that’s the stuff i love more than anything else about performing.  really. 

2.     What is a recent song you’ve been struggling with?  Have you won yet?

i started a song the other day, and realized pretty soon into it that it wasn’t exactly me talking – and it came to me that it was a bad girl of some kind – a girl who likes trouble – or found herself in it, anyway – and i realized it could be the voice of bonnie parker, of bonnie and clyde, the criminal duo from 1930’s texas… i’m still wrestling with it, because i have to make sure these words sound like words bonnie would use.  not me.  her grammar, her vocabulary, has to be that of somebody who never went to college, somebody who maybe never even finished high school.  and someone from texas (and i’m, well, not).   this is a great challenge – writing as someone else – who speaks differently – and have i won yet?  nope.  but bonnie might say “nope”, too.  so, there’s hope.  🙂

3.     There are times when you accompany yourself and other times you work with (what I assume) is a pick up band. How much rehearsal do you do?  What are the steps you take to get everyone quickly on the same page?

actually, i don’t work with pick up bands.  i have a longtime bass player in boston that i fly around the country as i need him.  there’s also a great harmonica player out of new york, trina hamlin, who’s been coming around doing shows with me recently.  but i’ve just accepted that, for me, it’s too crazy to try to get all these details nailed down in one afternoon, with musicians you meet on the spot.   when i start working with a new ensemble, i’m in the habit of doing pseudonym gigs to start a string of dates.  i do concerts on odd nights in little rooms under a made up name – and let the info leak out to a few friends and fans – just so maybe ten people show up to create some live feeling in the room.  and then me and the band do a show, allowing ourselves to make mistakes – but in the context of feeling what the songs are about, in the context of actually expressing something.   i just hate rehearsals. hate em.   i had a great voice teacher who said there’s no such thing as practice… he insisted that you never just do scales or just “run thru” something.  you gotta be emotionally connected with every performance, no matter what the setting.   and i’ve found that to be pretty good advice. 

4.     What is a particular image that you can rely on to be an effective sense memory when you’re performing?

now that’s a good question.  i like that question a lot.  when singing songs from I Can’t Be New, the songbooky songs record, i often see a couple in a corner booth, at a restaurant.. it’s late, like, 10:30… their wine glasses are empty,  they’re drinking coffee now.  and she’s leaning in.. and she has something important to tell him… and she’s going to say it with a quiet voice.   and that’s an image that often helps me with those type of songs.  i have little triggers in my head for most songs – but i don’t wanna give em all away.  🙂

5.    What is the most pressing need the folk world has today?

funny, but i just saw ani difranco play to 3,000 screaming people at the Auditorium theater and i don’t know that the folk world looks like it needs much of anything, seen from that perspective.  and she had tables for planned parenthood out in the lobby, along with amnesty international… i mean, her politics were as real as her business is successful.  i also think the myspace/itunes landscape of the music business actually favors those of us who say controversial things, those of us who create unconventional music.  we can get it out there.   this’ll sound strange but – this awful war has been really rather good for folk music.  people realized they needed vehicles to express their anger, their outrage… and we songwriters have been here for them.  folk music gets tougher when things are easier, to tell the truth.

 +1 You are one of the most amazingly versatile talents I’ve ever seen, as a singer, performer, musician, writer (in many genres)…  How do you know what direction to go in at any given time?

well, thank you for that compliment.  i don’t know that i ever know what direction to take… but a pattern that seems to have emerged over the years is that i get fascinated with a certain kind of music… a new style i can play myself on piano, or guitar, or both.  and somehow while learning that new style – over the years it’s been great american songbook songs, ragtime piano, bluegrass gospel…the best songs seem to show up.  once i’ve mastered it, the fun’s out of it.  the best songs always show up before i have the whole thing figured out.   that’s how it works for me anyway… probably better for business if i’d stick with one thing.   but, hell, what are you gonna do?