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Laura Cantrell Biography

Home > Music > C > Cantrell, Laura > Biography

Birth Place: New York City, USA
Years Active: 2000-present
Genres: Country

Laura Cantrell was born in 1968 and raised in Nashville, Tennessee; she is country singer and songwriter. Cantrell burst onto the country music scene in 2000 with a debut album, “Not the Tremblin' kind,” which introduced the world to her infectious vocals and intelligent song-writing. The album caught the attention of famed U.K. DJ, John Peel, who wrote “it is my favourite record of the last ten years and possibly my life.” In her teenage years, Cantrell developed a strong interest in music but then left Tennessee for New York City to study law and accounting at Columbia University. Cantrell supported herself through school with a disc jockey job at the university's radio station.

While at Columbia, Cantrell's singing career began as she immersed herself in the alternative rock scene and began to meet fellow musicians. Cantrell began singing at local clubs around campus and made her recording debut in 1990, singing backup on a single by Bricks, a collaboration between Mac McCaughan of Superchunk and Andrew Webster of Tsunami. Cantrell was also friends with John Flansburgh of the band, They might Be Giants, with whom she sang with on their 1992 release. “Appollo 18.” Around the same time, Cantrell landed a job as a disc jockey at New Jersey's WFMU-FM radio station and gained a large and loyal audience, playing classic country, folk, and her favorite artists from New York's burgeoning alt-country scene.

1999 (U.K.)/2000 (U.S.) marked the release of Cantrell's debut album, “Not the Tremblin' Kind,” on indie Scottish label, Spit & Polish Records. The album met with critical acclaim and put a spotlight on Cantrell, who had to learn quickly how to balance tour dates and recording sessions with her careers in finance and radio. Cantrell followed up her success with a second album, “When the Roses Bloom Again,” in 2002 and a tour of Europe and the United States to support the album. 2004 saw the release of The “Hello Recordings,” a five-song collection of demos, followed by the full-length album in 2005 dedicated to the memory of John Peel. Cantrell then took some time off from music to raise her children and re-emerged in 2011 with the album, “Kitty Wells Dresses: Songs of the Queen of Country Music,” a collection of songs, featuring one original and a slew of interpretations, associated with famed musician, Wells, who at 91 years of age was the oldest living member of the Country Music Hall of Fame