The Home County Folk League (HCFL) and Jack Richardson London Music Awards (JRLMA) are pleased to present a Homecoming Concert with folk singer-songwriter Laura Smith at the Jack Richardson Ballroom (182 Dundas Street) on Thursday, April 12th, 2018. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the concert starting at 8:00 p.m. This is a licensed, all-ages event. Tickets available HERE as well as at The Village Idiot, Long & McQuade North and London Music Hall.
“This will be Laura’s first public concert in her hometown since she opened the 40th edition of the Home County festival in 2013,” says Artistic Director, Darin J. Addison. “We are thrilled to bring her back to London for an intimate concert in a beautiful venue.” Laura will be accompanied by Paul Mills (guitar, vocals) and Kim Dunn (piano, vocals).
Born and raised in London, Ontario, Laura Smith was encouraged in her early writing by the noted poet Margaret Avison, then writer-in-residence at the University of Western Ontario. She began playing music as well, making her debut in area coffeehouses. She moved to Toronto in 1975 for nine years and in 1984 she moved to Cape Breton. Smith released her debut album, Elemental, under the auspices of CBC Variety Recordings in 1989. It was recorded at CBC Halifax. Alas, unbeknownst to Smith or CBC, at about the same time, Loreena McKennitt released an album with the same title, so Smith’s debut release was changed to Laura Smith when she leased back the masters from CBC. Her second album, B’tween the Earth and My Soul (1994) brought her national acclaim and earned her two East Coast Music Awars (Female Artist, Album of the Year) and two JUNO nominations for ‘Best New Solo Artist’ and ‘Best Roots and Traditional Album’.
Laura is best known for her 1995 single “Shade of Your Love”, one of the year’s biggest hits on adult contemporary radio stations in Canada, and for her adaptation of the Scottish folk song “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean” which she entitled “My Bonny”. She recorded a version of this with The Chieftains on their album Fire in the Kitchen. In December 2010, that version received a nod for ‘Song of the Decade’ from Bill Margeson at LiveIreland. The next year, 1997, she was awarded a Gemini Award for Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program or Series. In 2003, Smith was given a DHumL from Mount Saint Vincent University for her songwriting. She continued to work through the 2000s, including two seasons on stage in PEI in the role of Marilla in the musical Annie & Gilbert at the Victoria Playhouse in Victoria-by-the-Sea and the Jubilee Theatre in Summerside respectively. However, through the decade she suffered three debilitating accidents which resulted in chronic pain. This led to the use of increasingly stronger prescription drugs which eventually led to dependence. She attempted to obtain a Music Therapy degree from Acadia University, but gave up her studies to concentrate on healing. She disappeared from the music scene for a time, but by 2010, she was performing again, having overcome her dependency through the adoption of non-narcotic pain treatment therapies. Her story was featured in a radio documentary which aired on CBC Radio One’s morning program The Current on February 3, 2010. In 2010, and 2011, she performed several shows across Canada, touring with Ryan McGrath. In 2012, American Irish folk star Cathie Ryan recorded a version of Smith’s “I’m a Beauty” on her album Through Wind and Rain. Smith completed her first recording in sixteen years, Everything Is Moving, in January 2013. It was released by Borealis Records on April 10, 2013. More recently Laura has toured selectively often accompanied by her long-time friend and producer Paul Mills.