Sunday August 14th 7:00 PM | Gage Park Bandshell
In a digital download world where artist photos and clever packaging are often overlooked, Laura Cole makes us pay attention. On the front cover of her raw, gritty and wildly infectious debut full length album Dirty Cheat, the quickly emerging, raspy voiced Ontario based singer-songwriter smiles playfully, relaxed in a wicker chair. The back cover finds her in a sexy black dress in the remote woods of Upstate New York, aiming and shooting a friend’s licensed .45 – a wild episode that had neighbours calling out the SWAT team, thinking something sinister was amiss before the situation was defused as a big misunderstanding. That’s the perfect metaphor for Laura and her deep, complex artistry: the adorable badass.
Drawing on a wide swath of rock, jazz and R&B influences ranging from Etta James and Aretha Franklin to Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke and the late Amy Winehouse – artists “who let you hear the soul in their voices” – Laura noticed a theme developing as she and producer Steve Bigas narrowed her growing catalog of tunes to nine perfectly honed tracks. She says the theme of Dirty Cheat can be summed up in three songs: the sly and sexy “Sweet Escape” (about a “friends with benefits” moment that offered temporary relief from life’s struggles), the dreamy, mystical Tom Waits inspired “Death Row” (about the troubling end of a relationship) and the trippy, seductively sly title track, about raining hell down upon a cheating boyfriend – making sure she was “someone that you never forgot.”