Laura Taubman has released her new single titled ‘Ol’ Kentucky Light’. That ‘ol” feeling that you get listening to good lo-fi music via hi-fi just got a retro update via Lara, channeling the likes of Patsy Cline and other ‘ol’ giants of smoky lounge scene with that signature sound that is captivatingly Lara and totally original.
The idea for this album came on a 105 degree day in July in Manhattan in 2021. The pressure of the heat was down on me and the gospel song “If I Can Help Somebody” was playing in my ears, the version sung by Mahalia Jackson. I floated down the hazy sidewalk on University Place, her voice loud and raw in my headphones. Her truthful sound, the words, the tinkling reverb-y piano, made me feel as if I was hallucinating a flower unfolding before my eyes. Hours after that intense moment, the meaning of mercy was brought to me for the first time in my life, in a strange and mystical experience in Washington Square Park.
2021 was the year I began to cover some classic gospel songs. Singing those deep, healing sounds sparked something profound in my body and mind. I believe part of the reason I began writing music at all was so I could climb inside of a song, to embody it. The inspiration of classic gospel brought me that experience when I wrote these songs.
Being from the South and my roots in Appalachian music are not far from classic gospel music. The two kinds of music have always intermingled historically. In a way, these new songs have brought me closer to my southern background but in a deeper, more spiritual way.
“Ol’ Kentucky Light” could not have had a better birthplace than my current home of New York City. NYC is my creative home, where I have always gone to make things.
I am grateful that I got to make this music in collaboration on this album with Steven Williams (producer and drummer), Paul T. Frazier (co-producer and bass), Etienne Lytle (co-writer and keyboard) and Walter Parks (co-writer and guitar) at Atomic Sound Recording Studios in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It was truly one of the most integrated and enlightened experiences of my life. I am ever grateful to them and grateful to the universe that I found them.