Evie Ladin-Appalachia Meets Contemporary Ideas
Five years with her band has produced three cds and miles on the road. Evie Ladin was raised on the east coast with a family who participated in the folk revival in New York, New Jersey and Baltimore. Music and dance was the norm for her childhood. Musicians and dancers were at her home visiting with her Dad who was a dance teacher and musician. All these people were involved in music festivals on the weekends and small Evie was at the party listening and watching everything. Being surrounded with folk music and finding Appalachia roots in so much of that music Evie could not help but let that influence her own music as she grew up.
Attending Brown University, her interests were in African Studies with anthropology. Finding through her studies how much African music was intertwined in the music of Appalachia, this was filed away and accessed when she started playing more and more.
Moving on to performing music and focusing on banjo, playing the “claw hammer style” she was entrenched in traditional southern Appalachian repertoire with her first band “Stairwell Sisters String Band”. After ten years and international exposure she found it was fun to find interesting takes on the old songs which led her to develop her own band.
The Evie Ladin band has taken those ideas and run with them. Neo-trad-kinetic-folk is the term used to describe her style of music.There is a bluesy element to the music with focus on the banjo with unusual percussive body slapping and percussive dance mixed in. A fan told Evie “I hated banjo until I heard you”.
Moving to the west coast, the bay area, in 2000, the input and perspective is different from the east coast which adds more layers to her music.
Discussing her songwriting process, Evie says she tries to use contemporary ideas that are based in universal experiences in all of our lives. A life altering accident provided fuel for some of her music and the joy of life shown in her live performances. Keith and Terry,her band mates, add ideas and arrange the sounds making every performance unique. Recording is necessary to get her music out, but is quite obvious performing live is her passion.
This tour is in support of their new album “Jump the Fire” which was released May 6th. The music is a new take on old time banjo with unexpected twists and turns. Evie wants everyone to know the live show mixes music and dance so it is energetic and fun for her and the lucky audience. Her band is out on the road in their big van about six months out of the year. They have taking this tour back east as well as the west coast.
Two of the three members of the band are supporting this tour. Starting the set with body slapping and percussive dance along with Evie’s clear warm voice, the audience was immediately caught up in the song, clapping along with the rhythm. Picking up the banjo, she and Terry (who happens to be her husband) started singing with some tight harmony indicative of the Appalachian style that filters through her music. “Jump Up and Go” an up tempo tune got some audience members on their feet dancing. Terry moved between the Cajon for rhythm and the stand up bass. “Coo-coo” an old folk tune was revitalized by the surprising sounds Evie gets from her banjo.
“Jump the Fire” the title track from the new album, got the full attention of a rather loud audience and quieted them for the duration. “Ease on Down the Road” was a fun arrangement; a crowd pleaser.
The show closed with “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” like no one has ever heard it before.
Watching her face and listening to her voice and the chatter that goes on between performers, joy was apparent in every part of Evie’s performance. What a pleasure to watch this show.
Evie Ladin’s music is available on iTunes and on her website EvieLadin.com
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