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Laurie McClain (born August 1, 1958) is an American singer/songwriter.
Laurie was born August 1, 1958, in Los Angeles, California, to Donna Jean Burbach McClain and Richard Douglas McClain. At age six, Laurie announced to her family she would be a singer when she grew up. The pop music radio of the late '60s carried a heavy dose of folk music, and Laurie gravitated to that sound. Her mother was a devoted Johnny Cash fan and together they watched the eclectic Johnny Cash Show each week. This is where she first saw artists like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, Melanie Safka & Merle Haggard perform live, which greatly influenced her musical tastes. In 1970, when Laurie was 12, her family moved from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles back to her parents' birthplace, Lincoln, Nebraska. She heard a Joan Baez recording of the Leonard Cohen song, "Suzanne," and begged her father for a guitar so she could learn it. He complied, and soon after that Laurie began playing guitar and singing at junior high assemblies and at friends' parties. At age 15 she began performing frequently at the local open stages, where she heard slightly older local performers singing songs by artists like Hank Williams and John Prine, which further fueled her love for folk and roots country music.
Music & Career
By age seventeen, Laurie landed her first paying gig at a local bar called the Freedom Lounge, where she covered songs by Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Woody Guthrie, Joni Mitchell, John Prine, Kate Wolf, Jackson Browne and others. Laurie began writing songs at age 18. She played the local clubs in the Lincoln, Nebraska area for over a decade before she began touring on the national folk circuit and playing house concerts, festivals & coffeehouses. Laurie moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1997. In 1999, she released her first CD, The Child Behind My Eyes, containing thirteen originals and an a cappella version of Gillian Welch's and David Rawlings' "Acony Bell." Marcia, Mike & Carol Calvert of Blazon Pearl sing harmony on Acony Bell Jamie Hartford (son of John) appears on the recording playing electric guitar, mandolin, and singing harmony. Charlie Chadwick, a top session bass player in Nashville, produced The Child Behind My Eyes. Laurie's song, "Only Four," from The Child Behind My Eyes, was chosen for the Hope, Mothers Helping Mothers compilation CD, with proceeds going to a women's and children's shelter charity called Project Hope. Other artists appearing on that CD include: Tish Hinojosa, Diane Zeigler, Sara Hickman, Suzzy Roche, and Eliza Gilkyson. In January, 2003, Laurie released The Trumpet Vine, A Tribute To Kate Wolf. This 14-song CD has 13 Kate Wolf songs and one song, called "We've Loved Away The Night," that Laurie wrote music to some Kate Wolf lyrics. Musicians and harmony singers contributing their talent to this album include: Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, Pam Tillis, Anne Hills, Nina Gerber, Donna & Kelly Mulhollan of Still on the Hill, Muriel Anderson, Jerry Rau, Kathy Chiavola, Carter Wood, Tom Mitchell and more. In 2004, she released, along with singer/songwriter Karen Mal, a live CD entitled, KAREN MAL and LAURIE MCCLAIN Live at the Main Street Cafe, recorded in Homestead, Florida in January 2003. In 2005, Laurie released Compilation, a 19-song retrospective group of songs from live & studio recordings. In 2009 Laurie released Ascend, a 14- song CD containing all original music written by Laurie. Ascend recently was nominated for 4 awards, and took 3rd Place in the Just Plain Folks Awards Best New Folk Album for 2009. The JPF Awards, nicknamed the "grassroots grammys" is the largest music awards in history, and in 2009 over 42,000 albums were submitted in over 50 genres. In 2014, Laurie released LIVE AT THE PURPLE MOON 1995, from a live recording made at the Purple Moon Coffeehouse in Lincoln, Nebraska, containing 10 original songs plus Steve Forbert's "Search Your Heart," an a cappella version of Dar Williams' "When I Was A Boy," Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," and an a cappella version of "How Can I Keep From Singing," a traditional Shaker song.
Laurie has three daughters, a stepson and stepdaughter, and five grandchildren. She married four times and is currently divorced. Discography Albums 1999: Child Behind My Eyes 2002: remastered and current version of Child Behind My Eyes 2003: The Trumpet Vine, a Tribute To Kate Wolf 2004: Karen Mal & Laurie McClain, LIVE at the Main Street Cafe 2005: Compilation 2009: Ascend 2014: LIVE at the Purple Moon 1995 2016 DVD "Smile" LIVE at the Coffee Gallery Backstage