americana blues

Jesse Lafser's Raised on the Plains: The True Americana Folk Sound You've Craved

Thursday, April 02, 2015 Cora

When someone said “folk” or “Americana” music, you used to know what they meant. It was a clear, defined, specific sound and feel. Recently these terms have been eschewed, becoming a catch all for music that doesn’t fit elsewhere. St. Louis native Jesse Lafser emerges a true folk Americana hero with intricate but clean guitar supporting and offsetting her pure vocals. Like many gems, she’s been working and touring for a while and now receiving the recognition she deserves. Lafser’s sophomore album, “Raised on the Plains”, comes out April 28th. It’s music you can breathe to.

Jesse Lafser. Photo by Westin Heflin. Lafser is as down to earth and open as her music. She was named after a Thomas Hart Benton painting of a woman playing guitar. “My parents are fans of his work and weren’t sure what to name me,” she said on a beautiful day in Nashville. “They had this print.” As unique as it is, she also takes comfort in its foreshadowing. “Whenever I feel lost or wonder if this is something I should be doing, it’s a reminder that somehow this was cosmically meant to be,” she said.
Jesse Lafser performs live. Photo by Mick Leonardi. When she was 15 at summer camp, she saw a camp counselor playing a folk song on guitar and knew that was something she needed to do. She started taking classical guitar lessons that laid a solid foundation for her music today and influenced her note-worthy finger picking style. Lafser cites many Blues and folk musicians as her influences such as Bob Dylan and Gillian Welch to name a few. As she hails from the St. Louis area, she’s a huge Chuck Berry fan. “My parents would take me to blues bars growing up,” she shared. “So glad I had parents with great taste.” This album is a more different for Lafser than the listeners. They’ll hear more of a blues influence and a nice balance of whimsy and melancholy tracks. It was greatly inspired by her travels to the Southwest. “I’ve always been drawn to that area,” she said. “I’m glad I went alone. It was just me in my Jeep for 50 hours.” She shared how she saw the most amazing landscapes and buffalo running. One particular stretch between Taos and Raton, she had to pull the car over to take it all in. She has eloquently been able to translate that awe and majesty into her work.
Jesse Lafser and Will Kimbrough. Photo by Weston Heflin. Lafser particularly enjoyed working with SHEL, a band of sisters from Fort Collins, Colorado, and Will Kimbrough on this album. “SHEL fit really well with the track. It was really exciting,” she said. “Will is one of my favorite vocalist and guitarists. He’s played with everyone.” Lafser said it was important for her to respect the tradition of the music and where it comes from. You will hear the respect in this modern classic and won’t be able to get enough of it. For more information on Lafser and tour information, visit jesselafser.com

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