Flying Cat Music is proud to present award winning singer-songwriter Louise Mosrie in concert. She will be performing at the Empire State Railway Museum on Sunday, June 23, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $13 advance or $15 at the door. For information and reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 845-688-9453. The museum is located at 70 Lower High Street in Phoenicia, New York.
Louise has garnered significant accolades and attention for her songwriting and performances in recent years. She was a 2009 winner of the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Songwriting Competition. She followed up by winning the 2010 Wildflower Festival Performing Songwriter Contest, and in 2011 she was voted “Most Wanted” in the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist contest.
Mosrie’s songs are expressive sketches, usually centered on daily life, that linger on peripheral details pointing toward deeper meanings. Louise sings with exquisite phrasing that serves to heighten the immediacy of the stories she tells, instilling a sense of emotional truth into all her compositions. They might be gentle, joyful, angry or horrific, but the feelings that she summons are palpably intimate, even when her portraits are cast on an epic canvass, which she is wont to sometimes do with her historic ballads. Rich Warren, host of The Midnight Special for WFMT-FM in Chicago, describes Mosrie’s songs by saying, “. . . basically, she’s William Faulkner with a guitar.”
Born in Delaware to British parents who came to America for work, a southern identity at first came haltingly to Louise Mosrie. Despite mostly growing up on a farm in central Tennessee, she resisted the trappings of local southern life, including the food, the accent, and what seemed to her the sleepy ways of doing things in her small rural town. Introverted as a child, Louise was drawn to poetry and song from her earliest years. In her early 20s, Mosrie began writing pop/folk songs while living in Knoxville after graduating college and produced two independent albums before moving to Nashville in 2004. It was there, somewhat to her own surprise, that Louise began tapping the richness of her region’s roots.
In an interview with Steve Wildsmith from the Daily Times, she recalls that evolution,
“As a kid, I couldn’t wait to get the hell off the farm,” she said. “I didn’t like the country, and I didn’t want to be a part of that world. But when I moved back, older and hopefully wiser, I found myself, when writing songs, drawing on imagery I’d grown up around. I was influenced by songwriters like Nanci Griffith and Lucinda Williams, people that I’d gotten into later on, and my songwriting started to flow naturally out of that.”
It all came together for Mosrie with her most recent CD Home which finished 2010 as the Number 11 Album of the Year on the Folk DJ Charts. (Louise is hard at work on a new CD which no doubt she will draw from at her upcoming show.) Commenting to the Daily Times she noted the significance of that 2010 release:
“I called it ‘Home’ because I’d come back to Middle Tennessee, where I’d grown up, and I came back to my roots in a way that was surprising to me,” she said. “I found my voice in a type of music I never thought I’d write–country and alt-country and bluegrass. And I love it! It feels so natural and authentic, and it’s all a culmination of me moving back here.”
If Mosrie’s voice were a visual, you could call it picture perfect, typically shining bright as a summer dawn but at times as restless as an approaching storm. She brings life to small details that others might rush right past–the details that her stories ultimately turn on. Mosrie says her goal is to write songs that give you goose bumps or make you cry or both. She does do both with “Leave Your Gun,” a girl’s memory of emerging with her family from a cellar on their Tennessee farm to the carnage left by the (1864) Battle of Franklin. Here is a portion of those lyrics:
“Dead Union soldier – a fatal wound to the gut, but
His hands still clutching that gun just like he forgot.
A shallow grave and a prayer to the Lord above, and
Wooden cross where we laid him right there in that mud.
Somebody’s father, somebody’s son
Some red-blooded woman’s only one
You can rest here
Your work is done.
Go on to heaven brother,
Leave your gun.”
Her lyrics are equally incisive describing moments that might seem more commonplace, like these in her song “Maybe I’m Your Angel”:
“You stand there waiting on a sign from God above
While I’m just the girl sitting across the table.
Maybe I’m your angel.”
Louise Mosrie has the sound, the look, and the substance that someday could make her a household name. Given the state of music today it may take a large dose of good fortune in addition to her ample talent for that to happen. In the meantime Louise remains thankful for the chance to do something she loves dearly for a living, something you’ll have a chance to experience Sunday, June 23, at the Phoenicia Train Station