For Immediate Release
November 2, 2011
Indie Rock Orchestra The Poison Oaks Play Residency at Aviary Gallery to Celebrate New 7″ Pine out November 9th
“Ambition often follows talent, and Laura Cortese has an embarrassment of both.” John Wenzel, Denver Post
The Poison Oaks began as a studio experiment for fiddler and side-woman Laura Cortese. Originally an excuse to focus on experimentation, the group evolved into a full-fledged collective including as few as five and as many as fifteen members. After two years of studio sessions The Poison Oaks have emerged: with songbird vocals, triple tracked banjo and shredding guitars, they are an indie rock folkestra with fiddle that roars and subsides. Studio sessions were fruitful, yielding a vinyl 7” (with 3 bonus tracks available as downloads) called Pine to be released November 9th. The Poison Oaks will playing a residency at Aviary Gallery in Jamaica Plain on November 9th, 16th 23rd and 30th.
Stylistically in line with artists like St. Vincent and My Brightest Diamond, the Poison Oaks collaborations have resulted in a beautifully composed set of chamber pop songs. Compelling imagery and a fine wit, Cortese draws parallels between the devil and one of the seven Deadly Sins, then pirouettes to turn out a plaintive road song about yearning for love while on tour. While her previous work embraced classical and folk styles, the Oaks tunes are layered and embellished with choral background singers, multi-tracked banjo and chiming, distorted guitars. Founder Laura Cortese on the impetus for Pine: “When we began in 2009 we called them arranging sessions and we were almost dogmatic about thinking of the process as a project not a future record. Our focus was to get as arty and creative as possible, no limitations, no boundaries.”
Although The Poison Oaks are a fairly new project, Laura Cortese has been making music for the better part of her life. Welding the propulsive grace of folk styles to disarmingly open-hearted original pop songs, Laura Cortese is among the most intriguing and versatile, musicians in the bountiful New England post-folk scene. At home in any number of styles, her highly-visible work as a supporting musician (on fiddle, vocals, and bass) includes appearances with Band of Horses, Uncle Earl and – as part of Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden – Patterson Hood and Michael Franti. She comes from a family of musicians, received formal training at Berklee before launching her career; she has received coverage in publications like Strings, Songwriter’s Monthly and Blogcritics.
The Poison Oaks includes a myriad of acclaimed musicians, including Sam Amidon, Aoife O’Donovan, Kristin Andreassen, Neil Cleary, Matthew Douglas, Jefferson Hamer, Jennifer Kimball, Robin MacMillan, Dave Mattacks, Jacob Silver, Dietrich Stause and Pierce Woodward who perform in acts like Uncle Earl, Crooked Still, Elton John, George Harrison, Josh Ritter and myriad other bands and projects.