Laura Love and Harpers Ferry

St. Clair Productions will present bassist/songwriter Laura Love and her band Harpers Ferry at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 87 Fourth St., Ashland.

With straight-ahead bluegrass, blues, jazz, folk, gospel, reggae and country influences, Love's music has been described as "Folk-Funk," "Afro-Celtic," or "Hip-Alachian."

Boston songwriter Meg Hutchinson will open the evening with her award-winning songs influenced by Shawn Colvin, Greg Brown, David Gray and poet Mary Oliver.

Utne Reader called Love (one of) 40 artists who will shake the world. Acoustic Guitar called Love's music "An improbable but irresistible hybrid of hip-grinding rhythms and folk melodies, electric funk bass and Appalachian-inflected vocals."

The New York Times wrote, "Her music is exuberant. She conveyed the fervor of someone reaching out with an almost frenzied joy to seize the strands of a confusing life and weave them into a coherent, life-affirming vision." A Lincoln, Neb., native, Love began her wildly diverse musical career at the age of 16, playing her first gig at the Nebraska State Penitentiary. Beginning with pop standards, she moved into grunge-blues with the controversial Seattle band, Boom Boom G.I., and on to solo recordings, festivals and headlining shows. The first time she performed on the East Coast it was at Carnegie Hall.

Love describes herself as an amalgam of all jazz, blues, swing, bluegrass or Celtic music. "I've got African blood, European blood, Indian blood, and it all comes out in the music," she said in a press release.

Love released her 10th CD in 2007 on her label, "Octoroon Biography." "NeGrass" is an acoustic collection of traditional and original field hollers, Negro spirituals and folk songs recorded in Nashville with a talented group of bluegrass musicians. Love takes what she knows of her great grandparents' lives and imagines how it might have been for them around the end of the Civil War as they were being freed from slavery and embarking into an unfamiliar world.

In 2004, Love published her autobiography "You Ain't Got No Easter Clothes" together with a companion CD of the same name. She tells of her childhood growing up with a mother who was in and out of mental hospitals, and of being in the foster-care system.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $22 at the door, $10 for youth 12-17 and free for children under 12 with a paying adult. Tickets are available at the Music Coop, Ashland; online at; or by calling 535-3562.

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