With No Apology
In her fourth full-length recording, With No Apology, Portland-based singer-songwriter Joni Laurence presents a collection of songs from the rockier side of folk, song written during the two years after she left her day job to face the challenges and rewards of pursuing her passion for making music. With No Apology, recorded live in Urbana, IL with the generous financial support of her loyal fan base in central Illinois and beyond, maintains the eclectic flavor of it's predecessor, Trashbag Birdie (2004). Innocent Words Magazine wrote of Trashbag Birdie, "Joni mixes the eclectic styles of blues, country, folk and jazz on her album, with songs that could be described as easy listening outside of the elevator." But on her latest effort, Laurence introduces a somewhat edgier and more vulnerable self, revealing the darker and more difficult side of relationships. As with most all of Laurence's songs, however, she finds light in the darkness, hope in the despair, and humor in the inane. Drawn from her own experiences and the stories of those around her, Laurence's intricate lyrics are the focal point of her songs. Her music is acoustic, grassroots and organic. Laurence considers herself a "singer-songwriter of the modern folk kind" telling stories of real people and life experiences. St. Louis music connoisseur, Beatle Bob writes, in Sauce Magazine, "Laurence's melodies are instantly memorable, and her lyrics show a faith in reconciliation and resurrection. Her voice displays a range and depth with complexity." Touring nationally since 2004, Laurence has shared the stage with Patty Larkin, Carrie Newcomer, Cosy Sheridan and John Gorka. Recent highlights include touring in support of well-known singer-songwriter Catie Curtis and performing live on the television program Arts Across Illinois: Center Stage, at WTTW in Chicago, IL, the nation's third-largest PBS television station. Joni was born and raised in Quincy, IL. Unlike many of her singer-songwriter contemporaries, singing and learning musical instruments was not nurtured during her childhood. Growing up in a single-parent home, Joni was steered by her mother toward practical endeavors - endeavors that were more likely than music to secure Joni a career and financial stability. A self-taught musician, Joni first picked up the guitar as a college senior and checked out library songbooks that contained her favorite tunes. After graduation, she moved to Champaign, IL where she found her musical voice. In all, Laurence spent 18 years "growing up" as a singer-songwriter in the Champaign/Urbana community, performing in all-female bands, first "Girlfriends" and later "Dear Connie," before going solo. Since 1998, Joni has been touring in support of her independently self-released records, which include Short Time (1998), Daphne Speaks (2000), Trashbag Birdie (2004) and the latest edition to her growing catalogue, With No Apology (2006). It was the support and encouragement of Joni's fans that prompted her move across the country to Portland, OR, a city known for it's progressive acoustic music community. As a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest, Joni is becoming recognized as the new kid to watch in the local and regional music scenes. "A strong yet crystalline voice soars from [Laurence], carrying along a tightly woven web of lyrics thick with layers, which cover everything from the small to the grandiose in life, and managing to make a poignant point out of all of it." - Andre Hagestedt, Just Out "Laurence's slender form and shy persona belie the tough artist inside who's willing to take on issues in song with a demanding delicacy." - Tom Irwin, Illinois Times "Fans of Mary Chapin Carpenter and Nanci Griffith will appreciate this Illinois singer-songwriter's boundary-pushing acoustic folk on a superbly produced release." - Curve Magazine.