Laura Cantrell was born and raised in Nashville, and even though she was surrounded by country music, she never thought about being a singer or songwriter when she was young. She relocated to New York to attend Columbia University before the performing bug bit her. After graduation, Cantrell worked full-time at a bank, hosted a country radio show on WFMU in Jersey City, put together a band, kept writing songs and started making records. She used traditional country songs as a template for compositions of her own that stretched the boundaries of the music and won her a legion of loyal fans. BBC DJ John Peel called Not The Tremblin’ Kind, her 2000 debut, “my favorite record of the last 10 years, possibly my life.” Cantrell made two more albums in the 2000s, balancing well-chosen covers with her original material, but on her new album, No Way There From Here, she presents 11 originals with only one cover. Cantrell will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.
Cantrell: I’ve now recorded two albums at this indie Nashville studio, brain child of producer/engineer Mark Nevers, a former member of Lambchop who cut his chops working for country mega producer Keith Stegall recording mainstream artists from Alan Jackson to George Jones. Nevers has created an excellent music space in his Belmont-area home, using the wood floors, plaster walls and plentiful daylight to create a unique environment that has coaxed the best out of many country old timers, former punks (I frequently had to arm wrestle the Dead Boys’ Cheetah Chrome not to horn in on my studio time!), indie and roots rockers and assorted Nashville weirdos who pass through. I loved the atmosphere of creative freedom, and the diverse community of musicians ranging from Nashville indie darling William Tyler to country fiddler Billy Contreras and hillbilly guitar picker Kenny Vaughan. Andrew Bird and Will Oldham found it a good place to make some noise, and country legend Charlie Louvin got his only Grammy nomination as an artist from his final Beech House record. Got a song in you? Let’s go over to Beech House to work it out!