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Amy LaCour Blends Folk, Funk At Red Rock Coffee

In Music
Minimalism, Maximized: On her new EP, ‘Yes!,’ Amy LaCour creates a diverse musical statement with vocals and cello.

Minimalism, Maximized: On her new EP, ‘Yes!,’ Amy LaCour creates a diverse musical statement with vocals and cello.

Amy LaCour’s blend of funk and folk is a perfect fit for Red Rock Coffee’s “Western Songwriters” series. Well… except for the coffee part.

“I don’t drink it,” she laughs, “I drink tea.” The choice is fitting for the soulful songstress. Her understated delivery does not grab you by the lapels, like the firm jolt of coffee, but instead gradually wraps the listener in a warm calm, like her preferred drink.

According to LaCour, her relationship with music is a voluntary servitude. “I can’t help myself,” she says. “I’ve gotten to points where it was so hard to try to establish myself professionally that I considered stopping, and I just couldn’t. I literally hear music in my head.”

Her most recent EP, Yes! is an outlier in this musical era of increasing digitalization. With her latest album, LaCour has crafted an intimate, poignant, and surprisingly diverse musical statement, even though the only instrument featured (other than her voice) is a cello—played by Misha Khalikulov.

The duo forged a partnership through an artists’ collective in Oakland. “I thought maybe it would be fun to perform with a cellist,” she says, “I love the instrument. It was intended to be a one-off thing for fun.”

Their EP is harmonious and beautiful. LaCour’s voice sways—one moment propelled by clear emotion, the next receding into a near whisper that quakes with vulnerability. Khalikulov plucks, slaps and strokes his cello, creating an evolving wave of sound for LaCour to ride.

If Joni Mitchell is waking up to the sound of a fresh drizzling rain, then LaCour is stepping through the door the moment the sun peeks out. It’s the raw cool of folk warmed with resting embers of soul.

“I’m a very organic person, I’m a minimalist,” she says. “It’s my personal pace, I like small gatherings as opposed to big parties. This is absolutely who I am.”

Although she recently ended her marriage, LaCour insists her lyrical focus lies elsewhere. “It’s not like my divorce album, you know, maybe a song or two on there, but no, it’s more of the process of change in general. Change is inevitable, right? And the way we deal with it is different for everyone.”

LaCour seeks to understand those differences. “I’m really interested in human communication, like the things that bring us together and the things that keep us from connecting,” she says. “Also, because I move around a lot, I’m interested in what makes people choose change in their life, and what keeps them in the same place.”

Amy LaCour is playing Jan. 17 at 8pm at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View. More info.

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