Lauren Anderson Releases New Album, 'Love On The Rocks '
A blues vocalist and guitarist, Chicago native Lauren Anderson is also a licensed music therapist, new dog mom to Billy, the pandemic pup and today she released her new full length album, Love On The Rocks. Like most of us, the down time last year allowed for some time to reflect, rethink and reset. For young artists who make their livings mostly from playing live shows, some have secondary jobs, but for most it was also a time of figuring out how to survive with a big chunk if not all of their income gone, seemingly overnight. This collection of songs has pain, anger, nostalgia and hope. It’s funky, it’s soulful and it rocks.
AnaLee: I’ve been a fan of yours Lauren for a couple of years now, it doesn’t seem that long ago but it was in 2019 that you played our Local Brew Live series and we chatted for the Local Brew Hour about the EP you’d just released, Won’t Stay Down. But in those two years, a lot has happened including a brand new album of nine original songs, your precious pup and well, surviving a pandemic. Love On The Rocks really feels like you were working some stuff out in these songs and it feels a little nostalgic in some songs. “Back To Chicago” features St. Louis born/Texas based guitarist Mike Zito and it is quite the blues guitar jam. How fun. Tell us a little about making the record and did you actually get to record with Mike or was this done separately due to the pandemic?
Lauren: I know! I can’t believe it’s been 2 years either. Writing this album during the pandemic definitely did keep me going through it all. It was nice to have a “purpose” still, which everything was shut down. I wrote “Back to Chicago” last April 2020 and new it needed a badass blues/rock guitarist. I was so honored when Mike Zito said he dug the tune and would love to be a part of it. Unfortunately, we recorded remotely. Hopefully one day soon we’ll get to work on another project and get into the studio together!
AnaLee: “Holdin’ Me Down” is a little step outside of your blues rock and soul sound, but really not that much. One of my favorite things about your music is how your influences inform your style but they’re so varied that it makes for some really interesting sounds. You’ve released covers of Whitney Houston and Radiohead songs, so I’m not surprised to hear beats and a modern sort of phrasing in your vocal delivery, but that searing guitar is still in there! Can you tell us about the inspiration for the sound and story of this song?
Lauren: This song is really just about that one person that you keep going back to that’s, well, holding you down, ha-ha. I wrote the song and felt like it was missing something. That guitar riff you hear throughout the song was actually written by my bassist, Hutch. He’s got a great ear for that kind of stuff. That riff really made the song come alive and took it down more of a 90’s R&B vibe. I grew up on that genre so it was a lot of fun working on this one.
AnaLee: I know you’ve been playing some shows around town, including your album release party at Dee’s last night. Do you have plans to tour this year?
Lauren: I do! I’m slowly getting back out there on the road. We’ve got a few Florida, TX and Midwest runs coming up this fall and hopefully more to come!
AnaLee: I really love the guitar in “I’m Done”. I can’t sit still when I hear that song, it’s a funky rockin’ dance jam! It even gets kind of jazzy in the breakdown. The next track, “Stand Still” is a contemplative melodic ballad as is the album closer, “Your Turn”. Great job on these songs and the production of this album, Lauren. The album opener is stirring vocal performance called, “Keep On”. Who sings on that track with you and can you tell us a little about your band on the album?
Lauren: Most of the album was recorded at a buddy of mines home studio, Taylor Lonardo. He does a great job and mixed and mastered the tunes as well. Then we’ve got Hutch on bass, Jimi Greene on guitar, Matt Doctor on drums and Kiran Gupta on organ. Jon and Liz Estes are playing strings on “Your Turn” and a couple of other tunes. “Keep On” was actually recorded at the height of the pandemic, so all the harmonies you hear are all me, ha-ha. My roommate helped me make the beat by banging on things around the house. Then I spent the better part of an afternoon in my room just layering harmonies. It was a lot of fun! I used to do stuff like that as a kid with a cheap tape player so it really brought me back.
AnaLee: And of course, I have to ask about your pup! I have a couple of friends that got puppies during the pandemic, it was a great time to be home with them during those formative (read: destructive) months! It’s been great catching up with you Lauren and I wish you much success with Love on The Rocks.
Lauren: Yes! I’ve been wanting to get a pup for years now and this seemed like the perfect time. And, of course, I ended up with a hound mutt so he likes to sing just as much as I do. In fact, my whole tiktok page is basically just the 2 of us singing, ha-ha. Thank you so much for having me, Ana Lee! This has been so great!
Lauren Anderson, “Back to Chicago”
Lauren Anderson, “Love on the Rocks”