Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chicago singer-songwriter to release sophomore EP, "Between Our Words"


Chicago singer-songwriter Laura Joy's brand of acoustic pop has garnered comparisons to such musicians as Joni Mitchell and Alison Krauss.

Joy will celebrate the release of her sophomore EP, "Between Our Words,"  with a show on March 5 at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave., Chicago.

Will Phalen is also on the bill. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are available at

I had a chance to talk to Joy about the new EP.


Q - Great talking to you. In sitting down to make "Between Our Words," what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them? Is there a meaning behind the album's title?

Thanks! It had been more than three years since my last release and I've definitely grown a lot since that last one.

People were hearing a lot of songs at my shows that weren't recorded, and it was time to fix that. I had to have the funding in place, and I wanted to make sure I had the right team. 

I definitely found the right team. I've been wanting an actual band for a very long time.

I'm so happy to have Dave, Jamie, and Will with me on this project. They were collaborators, and their ideas really enhanced my arrangements.

The title is simply my favorite track from the album. It's a happy love song. 

The first one I've really written. The world needs more of those!

At the same time, I thought the phrase "Between Our Words" was kind of cool ... because that's where a lot of the music happens, right? Between the words.

Q - "Between Our Words" was produced by Will Phalen, who also is featured on the album. What do you think he brings to the table?

I went to Will because I really liked the type of sound he creates with his own music, and the work he did with Julie Meckler. We had done a little bit of demo work together for some of my stuff in the past, and I just found him to be super chill and fun to work with. 

He created parts to some of the songs on the EP that are really beautiful -- little layers of sound that I would never have thought of. Will is not only a great producer, but also a great musician.
I wanted something a little more "plugged in" sounding than I've done in the past, but without losing that acoustic, organic feel. Will got it spot on.

We laid out the basics for all but one of the tracks live in the studio in one day. That's crazy, and I love how honest it feels.

It's a testament to everyone's talent, too. I feel so lucky.

Q - How would you say that your music has evolved since your last album?

It's gone a little more pop, I guess, with the band and the song structures and whatnot. And my voice has changed significantly, I think for the better.

I have more of an idea of what I'm doing with it now. But I'm tired of being a solo-singer-songwriter. It gets so lonely, particularly when touring.

What I've been doing up to now, that's more of an intimate, listening room experience. I want people to dance a little.

That's more likely when there's a band than when it's just a single lady with her guitar, you know?  I'm happy to mix things up a bit.

The ultimate goal is to take the guys on the road with me.

Q - Given your last name, do you think that people have a certain impression of what your music should sound like before they have heard you? Is that hard to overcome?

Ha, no I've never even thought of that! What's hard to overcome is people believing it's actually my last name. 

No really. That's my last name. 

There are actually quite a few of us Joys. It's Irish.

Q - You have been compared to such artists as Joni Mitchell and Alison Krauss. Would you consider those artists as influences? Who has been the biggest influence on your music?

I would definitely consider Joni Mitchell a huge influence. My mom introduced her to me when I was in high school.

Those lyrics and those soaring vocals stabbed my heart, in a good way. I don't really know where the Alison Krauss comparison comes from. I'm honored to be compared to her, but... I'm guessing it's a vocal thing?

I'll ask, the next time it's brought up. I mean, as musicians, we get comparisons all the time and they're always meant as compliments.

I've gotten some interesting ones. "You're like a female John Mayer... a female Jackson Browne... You're like Ani [Difranco] without the rage!"

I friggin' love Jackson Browne. Do I hear that in what I'm doing? Not particularly, but I'll take it!

Maybe my style is a slight challenge to pinpoint?

Q - The video for “Call Me Ishmael,” your parody of the song, "Call Me Maybe," has received more than 20,000 views. Were you surprised that it had such an impact? Why did you decided to do the video?

Was I surprised? Not all that much.

We hit the very tail end of that "Call Me Maybe" parody wave, and we hit it hard, nerd-style. It was really more of an experiment.

My friend Paula was doing research on how viral videos happen, she knew I could sing, and she knew I'd be into being ridiculous. She already had the lyrics, so I just added my voice and totally AWESOME acting skills.

Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and where do you think you fit into it? Do you have any favorite venues to play?

The Chicago music scene is so large and so varied, I think anyone can fit into it, which is why I love it. Hideout is my favorite.

It reminds me of my cousins' old basement in the house they grew up in. It feels comfy, and I really adore their staff and sound system.

Q - Do you have any dream collaborations or projects?

If I could do something with the Muppets, I would die a happy lady.

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