Dana LaCroix | Moving On, Looking Back

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Moving On, Looking Back

by Dana LaCroix

A 16-song retrospective tracing LaCroix's music from her beginnings in pop-country to the more roots-rock influenced sound of her later albums. “With an uncanny ability to find the heart of a song, LaCroix is really on to something.” Daily Freeman
Genre: Folk: Folk-Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Matter of Time
3:38 $0.99
2. Lonesome Angel
4:02 $0.99
3. My Little Everything
4:36 $0.99
4. Lonely Rooms
4:31 $0.99
5. Taking My Time
3:50 $0.99
6. The Walking Song
4:28 $0.99
7. You're the One
5:18 $0.99
8. Take a Swing At the Moon
4:12 $0.99
9. Parry Sound
4:17 $0.99
10. Faith in You
4:56 $0.99
11. I Still Do
3:55 $0.99
12. Pride
3:34 $0.99
13. John Henry
2:36 $0.99
14. Jump In
4:00 $0.99
15. Cinderella's Sister
4:38 $0.99
16. Northern Summer Nights
3:02 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
While folk and roots music reside at the heart of her work, Canadian-born singer/songwriter, Dana LaCroix, draws from a deeper well that’s also filled with country, R&B, pop, rock and more. Her emotive vocalizing, heartfelt, sophisticated songcraft and superb musicianship are the mark of an artist who knows instinctively how to find her way deep inside of a lyric and take us in there with her.

Versatile, refined and skilled, LaCroix has attracted such admirers as Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot, the late Denny Doherty of the Mamas and the Papas, and journalists and radio DJs in the United States, Canada and abroad.

With the release of Moving On, Looking Back, a compilation that includes tunes from her previous releases—Pride and the EPs Faith In You and Jump In—as well as some new tracks, Dana LaCroix is poised to break out to a wider audience. She has recently been collaborating with guitarist/vocalist Murali Coryell (the son of guitar legend Larry Coryell) and plans to spend 2013 “touring and reconnecting with musicians we’ve worked with in the past. I feel like I’m at a time in my life where I’m reevaluating things, revisiting the changes I’ve been through over the years and getting ready to start a new chapter,” she says.

For Dana, the creation of music has been a continually unfolding growth process. “I’ve experimented with so many different musical styles over the years, but I feel like I’ve finally reached a place where my influences are starting to gel,” she says. “Performing original songs live is the only way to figure out whether your writing is really reaching your audience, what works and what doesn’t. I’ve learned a lot about how to craft a song through years of practice, but that certain magic that makes a song reach people emotionally isn’t something you can craft. That hasn’t changed—it either comes or it doesn’t and you just have to keep your hand in so that you’re ready when the muses are. Something I’ve learned over the years is focus—focusing my performances, my songwriting, my singing, getting rid of elements that are distracting, superfluous or misdirected.”

LaCroix’s most recent album, Jump In, gave notice that her music was stepping up, moving toward a new place, both lyrically and structurally. “Most of the songs on Jump In are connected to growing older, recognizing the personal struggles of others, the belief in redemption,” she says. One standout track, “Take A Swing at the Moon,” acknowledges the higher stakes connected to jumping into relationships. Dana sings: “Dark dead end road, ill wind blowing/Midnight rain pouring down, hear the sound/It’s spelling out your name like a bad omen/You’re out in the cold, trying to find a way home again/The clouds are cracking up and you can see the light/Grab that silver lining and hold on tight.”

If Jump In is a statement on LaCroix’s present, then Moving On, Looking Back serves as a summation of where she came from. Literally, that place was Toronto, and Dana attributes her Canadian upbringing to helping her discover her artistry. She began that journey in early childhood—music was in the air she breathed. “I learned from the cradle that music is something that people share on an everyday level,” LaCroix says. “It saddens me to think that so many people are raised experiencing music as something that is on TV, on a CD or made only by professionals. Back in the old days, making music together was a social norm for families and communities. I was lucky to have been raised that way. When my sister and I were little my dad used to sing us songs at night instead of reading us stories. The first story I remember from my childhood is the ballad of John Henry (I did a version for the upcoming compilation CD). As we grew up, our place was the place where all our friends would gather to sing songs around the piano with my dad. It was the hub of the neighborhood, because we made music together.”

Both her father and Doherty, whose lead vocals on such Mamas and the Papas hits as “California Dreamin’” and “Monday, Monday” are folk-rock classics, provided inspiration. “Dad and Denny both had a big influence on me, of course. I loved hearing their stories about being on the road with the Halifax Three on the Hootenanny Tours with Peter, Paul and Mary, the Big 3, the Journeymen, and other folk groups. The ’60s were a time of real social change, and music was a big part of that. Dad and Denny told us stories about joining protests against segregated venues, getting run out of town by the KKK, so I grew up learning that there was a natural connection between music-making and social issues and have always thought of playing music as an activity that brings people together, facilitates communication and heals rifts.”

Of course, growing up in the country that produced some of the most revered songwriters of the modern era shaped her as well—she often found strength in the struggle to improve her craft. “You can’t spend your life listening to writers like Neil Young, and not wind up disappointed with what you’re writing yourself,” LaCroix says. “But it’s not a bad thing. It’s good to have goals that can add up to a whole lifetime of endless searching. I’m not going to start whining about how hard it is, but I’ve always found it comforting that geniuses like Leonard Cohen think it’s hard too.”

When Dana began making her own music, folk venues were nonexistent in Toronto, so she gravitated toward blues—that down-to-earth quality remains an essential component of her style and can be heard in her earliest recording, 1998’s Pride, and on 2007’s Faith in You. Realism is integral in her words and in the arrangements of her songs. “The blues influence has been ever present,” she says. “I’m not sure why, but it is. The blues is universal, I suppose. Even as a listener, I can think of very few styles of music I enjoy that are completely void of the blues element. It’s just in me for whatever reason.”

“My voice is more of a folk/country voice than a powerful pop or rock voice,” she says, “but it’s probably also connected to my musical upbringing. My first exposure to music was folk music and in my earliest years my musical imaginings were all connected with things rural and old-fashioned. The process of songwriting also helped,” she adds. “There is a kind of osmosis that takes place when you work with music for years that is hard to describe. If you keep listening, singing, creating and performing, sooner or later your own sound emerges.”

Although her Canadian roots run deep, LaCroix left her home country years ago, restlessly chasing her muse. She began her songwriting life while living in Denmark, then tried New York City for a while and now lives in the more bucolic environs of New York State. “Living here in the U.S., especially living in New York City as a low-income artist, keeps you on your toes, makes you use all your faculties and sharpens your creativity. And the wealth of experience, the musicians you meet who are all hungry, trying out different things, finding a way to stay alive, keep the rent paid and keep creating—it’s invigorating. The move upstate came, she says, from a desire for a less hectic lifestyle. “It got too hard. I wanted to pursue my dream of living in on the land: planting a garden, growing vegetables, looking out at the mountains every day; it helps keep life in perspective. You’re less likely to focus on the unimportant things. One of the problems with New York City is that there is so much going on; it’s so exciting, it seems like you’re doing so much, that it can sometimes mask the fact that you’re really not getting anywhere—personally, creatively. It’s distracting.”

Where does she want to go from here? “One of my dreams is to be a kind of traveling minstrel, getting a horse-drawn wagon with a pull down stage and wandering through upstate towns playing for tips,” she says, adding “I’m serious!”

But as serious as she may be, she prefers to leave the future to itself. “It’s impossible for me to say where I’ll go artistically from here, because it’s all so connected to life experiences,” she concludes. “and you never know what’s going to happen next.”



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