Today Is Mine
'Today Is Mine' is a thoughtful collection of cover songs rich in folk, pop, and country influences from vocalist Lauren Kilgore. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Lauren was exposed to an interesting variety of music as a child. 'I grew up listening to the music of Merle Travis, Jerry Reed, the Beatles, and James Taylor, and this record is sort of a 'thank you' for bringing me those musical influences and great tunes,' she says. While Lauren's stunning voice celebrates the work of those who've come before her, the 21-year-old singer definitely makes each song her own. 'I don't think you have to fit into a single category musically,' Lauren says. 'I don't agree with that philosophy. Mixing different styles together for me was like creating a tapestry. The different pieces and textures work beautifully together and bring more depth to the whole project.' The title track comes from songwriter, singer, and guitarist Jerry Reed. Lauren's father, Larry Kilgore, is a terrific fingerstyle guitarist and he's been playing this song with her since she was old enough to sing. Reed's lyrics convey a philosophy of life that is as valid today as it was when he wrote the song in the 1960s - living each day to the fullest, in the here and now. As Reed wrote, 'today is the only garden we can tend.' This 'seize the day' attitude fits perfectly with Lauren's current musical hopes and ambitions. 'My father played the guitar as long as I can remember and was constantly letting us hear various types of musical styles that he grew up with,' says Lauren. 'I think I have a unique advantage in being exposed to so many types of talented musicians. I don't know anyone my age who listens to artists like Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, or Merle Travis.' Included on the CD are such well-known folk-pop classics as 'Carolina In My Mind' (James Taylor) and 'I'm Looking Through You' (Lennon/McCartney). Also featured are great songs by lesser-known writers such as Pierce Pettis ('State of Grace,' 'Moontown'), Tom Prasada Rao ('Sleeping Beauty'), Cosy Sheridan ('George And His 88 Keys'), and Leslie Braly ('Let Me Dream Again,' 'Just A Mockingbird'). In contrast to these recent songs is the Western swing classic 'Three Times Seven' by Merle Travis, which features Larry Kilgore playing a Travis-inspired solo on his vintage Gibson Super 400 electric guitar. 'Poor Wayfaring Stranger ' dates back to the Civil War, although Lauren's reading of the song gives it an entirely new, jazzy flavor. The CD's producer and arranger, Jim O, selected the songs and played practically all of the guitar and percussion tracks on the album. Other Birmingham musicians lent their talents to the project, such as Greg Brown (bass guitar, electric guitar, mandolin and harmony vocals), Bobby Horton (trumpet and trombone on 'George and His 88 Keys') and Jerry Ryan (harmonica). Also featured are drummer Jay Frederick, keyboardist Keith Knox, and upright bassist Roy Yarbrough ('Let Me Dream Again,' 'Moontown'). Robbi Podrug and Kathy Hinkle of the Herb Trotman Band, a popular Birmingham bluegrass band, sing harmony vocals on 'Let Me Dream Again.' The only non-Birmingham musician on the record is violin virtuoso Joe Ebel from Asheville, North Carolina, whose superb solos and multi-tracked string 'quartets' grace many of the tracks. 'Today Is Mine' is a follow-up to Lauren's debut CD, 'Before My Time,' released in1999. Producer Jim O says, 'when I produced her first recording three years ago I knew she was an artist with a bright future, and on this record she's hitting her stride with a beautiful, silky sound that brings a whole lot of warmth, feeling and great musicianship to the songs.'