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Carol Laduke

Creative Spirit

As a young girl playing on the beaches of Provincetown, Massachusetts (at the northernmost tip of Cape Cod), Carol LaDuke built castles in the sand. Then she found words, and began a life-long pursuit of creating castles of the imagination. Her most recent effort to explore the bounds of expression comes in the form of "Dragonfly," a collection of esoteric, beautifully-sculpted songs which - although filled with universal themes and recorded in Nashville - still somehow manages to evoke the essence of those New England shores.

Provincetown ("P-Town" to the natives) has historically been a destination not just for tourists, but also for a wide array of artists, actors, writers, and musicians. Her step-father, who served as a law enforcement officer during the summers, once arrested Marlon Brando for disturbing the peace, and she babysat for Norman Mailer and partied with Joe Cocker (not at the same time) "It's a town that just really nurtures creativity," says LaDuke. . "It's just a very liberal town," she adds, "where everybody does their own thing, and everybody supports everybody."

She remembers her mother reading poetry to her at about the age of three (she still has the book), and she began reading on her own at four. When LaDuke was only five years old, she went to see a performance of The Barbarians, a Cape Cod rock band which was in the sixties touted as America's Rolling Stones. The music - and the idea of music as art - captured her immediately, and has remained in her heart throughout her life. "I studied and analyzed songs I loved, word by word, listened to every note, every instrument," she says, noting the magical power of music to transform you to another time and place. "I thought 'Rambling Man' by the Allman Brothers was an advert for Greyhound Bus Lines," she laughs, recalling her reaction to hearing the song on the AM radio in her sister Candy's VW Bug. "Little did I know five years later, Dickie Betts would be singing in my living-room at the Ranch in Jensen Beach, Florida. Life is funny like that."

As special as music is, however, it's the words which have been her guiding force, from the poems she formed in her head while riding her horse on the beach to the lyrics she crafts and sings aloud while walking her dogs. Words are the foundation of the castle upon which she shapes the sand. In 2011 she released "Poems from Provincetown," a collection which one reviewer called, "a sweet and insightful window into the author's childhood memories, as well as a poignant glimpse at the rich history of a small and close-knit New England fishing village." Since then, she's released another well-received collection of poetry, "Circus Horse," and has written a play entitled "The Wall."

Recently, LaDuke let the music take front-and-center. She collected some of her old songs, wrote some new ones, and took them to producer/multi-instrumentalist Steve Goodie in Nashville, who transcribed the music and helped make her latest castle a home. The six-song EP, "Dragonfly," is available for download on CD Baby.

LaDuke, who is also just a few credits short of having her degree in Political Science from the University of Mass/Boston, plans more trips to Nashville, more music-making, and more sandcastle-building, for the truly creative spirit can never rest on its laurels.