Thursday – The Writer’s Share Presents: Shannon LaBrie, Kyshona Armstrong and Kate Taylor Hollingsworth
Music by Nashville chanteuse Shannon LaBrie defies genre and brings to life insightful stories of a woman who remains true to herself in a life where uncertainty is certain. The Lincoln, NE native instantly became a favorite among music fans and critics alike with her powerful 2013 debut Just Be Honest. With her lead single, “I Remember a Boy,” the independent release reached inside the Top Ten on iTunes and the Triple A Radio charts. Famed music blogger Bob Lefsetz wrote, “This track affected me. Made me believe like the great singer-songwriters of yore, maybe this woman has something to say. That in this crazy, mixed up, shoot-up world she can illuminate her story and people can relate.”
In April 2016, LaBrie returns with her introspective sophomore album, War & Peace. Tracked live at Nashville’s House of Blues Studio D with producer Tom Michael, War & Peace is an emotionally-charged collection of deep Americana soul that gives voice to the love and loss Labrie experienced throughout her life. “When I listen to music,” Labrie says, “a lot of times, it’s to make me feel good. But a lot of other times, it’s to make me not feel alone. I started writing this album after a loss that put me at war with everything in my life. These songs are small doses of the war I feel inside and the peace I long to find.”
The title track “War & Peace,” is inspired by the unwavering love and commitment she experienced while dealing with a tragedy that continues to shake LaBrie’s heart to this day. “I feel very fortunate that I made it through the past five years.” LaBrie continues to explore love in the stirring rocker “It Took My Whole Life.” The smooth and steady “Crumble” addresses how consuming love can feel, and the soulful “Ain’t Just a Feeling” captures the solace love provides. “There was a time when love was a far-off dream,” she says. “Feeling good, feeling like a woman, feeling beautiful wasn’t something that came easily. ‘Ain’t Just a Feeling’ came from a moment when I was able to step out of the sadness and just be happy.”
LaBrie calls out American politicians in the fiery opener “It’s Political,” while “American Dream,” celebrates feeling thankful to live in a country that offers its citizens a life of endless possibility as a basic human right. Anchoring the soul of the album are the deeply emotional “Alcohol” and “Heaven Crashed Down.” “Alcohol” is a moving ballad about trying to save a loved one from a life of addiction, but in trying, only kills the savior. In LaBrie’s own words “There are people who are addicted to alcohol and there are people addicted to trying to fix the people addicted to alcohol. It’s all addiction.” In “Heaven Crashed Down,” LaBrie gives a visual account of the painful loss of her father to cancer when she was only 13. She sings, “He was all we had, he was all I’d lost. The morning heaven crashed down, I grew up.”
Austin Chronicle calls LaBrie, “a true guitarist singer/songwriter whose soulful voice’s sensual honey-crisp highs brings to mind the late, great Jeff Buckley.” Rolling Stone says “It’s as if Norah Jones and the great late Jeff Buckley started a band and went a tiny bit country.”
She has opened for Gabe Dixon, Phoenix, ZZ Ward, The Head and the Heart, The Wild Feathers, Michael Franti and Valerie June. Her résumé includes Triple A Radio Conference, Lightning 100 Sunday Night Showcase, World Cafe, Hotel Cafe, South By Southwest, the Austin City Limits Festival, Road to the Hangout and Road to Bonnaroo.
Kyshona Armstrong, a music therapist gone rogue, has a natural gift for using music to tap into emotion. She began her career as a music therapist, working in mental health hospitals and correctional facilities, writing music with her patients and using music to redirect behaviors and emotions. Kyshona soon found the need to write music independently to help her process her daily experiences with her clients. Audiences will often find a common thread of overcoming, hope, and empowerment in her songwriting and storytelling. She uses her emotional intelligence to create her unique bluesy and soulful style of music. Her latest album, “The Ride”, shows off vocal stylings that are reminiscent of Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Al Green. She has four independent releases under her belt- 2016’s full length album “The Ride”, 2008’s EP “Music”; 2011’s EP “Home Again”; and 2014’s crowdfunded full length album, entitled “Go”.
As she has traveled across the country the last 7 years, Kyshona has had the privilege of sharing the stage with Wynonna Judd, Lake Street Dive, Meiko, Margo Price, Lera Lynn, Hope For Agoldensummer, Angel Snow, Randall Bramblett, Dwayne Shivers, Anthony David, Cracker, and many more. She currently resides in Nashville, TN where she is writing, performing and donating her time to youth empowerment programs in her community and performing for the incarcerated.
Kate Taylor Hollingsworth
Kate Taylor Hollingsworth is a Birmingham native who has been active in the music scene for over a decade. In her late teens and early twenties, she plunged into music, touring with her sister, Maria Taylor. Shortly afterwards, Kate began pursuing a solo career. She has collaborated with friends throughout the years, most notably Wild Sweet Orange and their front man Preston Lovinggood, as well as her husband, Taylor Hollingsworth. She and her husband toured extensively with their band Dead Fingers after the release of each of their two records. Following the birth of their first child, the pace slowed significantly for Kate, but now she is writing again and has an album in the works due for release later in 2017.
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