“A passionate album by a wonderful songwriter.”
“First impressions are lasting impressions. That being the case, Dana LaCroix has nothing to fear.”
The Performing Songwriter Magazine
“A dynamic performer with a fabulous voice”
Denny Doherty (The Mamas and The Papas)
“With an uncanny ability to find the heart of a song, LaCroix is really onto something.”
The Daily Freeman
“ LaCroix’s songs…are vivid evocations of what have become American archetypes: searching for freedom on the open road, the joy of letting one’s inner bad girl out, even for a while….LaCroix masters the art of connecting with the audience.”
The Daily Star
Dubbed “a wonderful songwriter” in her homeland, Canada, by the legendary Gordon Lightfoot, singer/songwriter, Dana LaCroix, has launched her latest cd, The Great Divide, followed up by tour dates in Canada, Europe and the US.
Equal parts folk and pop, The Great Divide is firmly rooted in the singer/songwriter tradition. The lyrics paint a picture of a seasoned woman who has seen a lot of ups and downs, paid the price, and come to know herself in the process. From the seductive ‘Rain Down on Me’, to the relentless ‘Take a Swing at the Moon’ and the wistful title track, The Great Divide, the songs are a testament to finding and losing love, holding on and letting go, and ultimately, believing in redemption despite all odds. The album’s ever-present theme of longing never capitulates to a maudlin self-pity and the listener is left with the comforting sense that the narrator is confident that in the end, no matter what, everything’s going work out all right. Sonically, the album is centered around LaCroix’s voice, which is husky, yet sweet, and expresses a nuanced emotional vulnerability that draws the listener in with its range and depth. The solid groove that the band lays down throughout is tempered by the sophistication of the arrangements, evincing a disciplined restraint that supports and enhances LaCroix’s vocals without overshadowing them.
Sought after for her songs, as well as for her live appearances, Danish feature film director, Niels Winding Refn has tapped LaCroix’s catalogue, including 2 of her songs in the John Turturro film Fear X, and she was approached by BMG records Holland to contribute material to Dutch pop-star Hind’s release Halfway Home. Married to a Dane in 1995, Dana resided in Denmark for a number of years, before relocating to a small village in the mountains of Upstate New York where she currently spends most of her time.
Living in NY has given Dana access to some of the industry’s top musicians. Critics have raved about the intercommunication between the musicians in LaCroix’s band, who, in a refined and understated way combine a contemporary sound with the more roots-oriented elements of the songwriting. The tightness of the ensemble is in evidence throughout the new cd. Recorded in New York City and Woodstock, NY, it features the work of LaCroix’s long-standing touring band, as well as top NY and international session musicians.
The songs included on her last cd, a 16-song retrospective entitled Moving On, Looking Back, have been called 'vivid evocations of what have become American archetypes: searching for freedom on the open road, the joy of letting one’s inner bad girl out, even for a while', waiting for Prince Charming to ride up “on a black Harley.” “Cinderella’s Sister" is a song that’s been percolating inside me since I was about 14”, says Dana. “It’s an anthem for anyone who has ever felt cast aside and misunderstood - and well, really, who hasn’t?”
Born and raised in Toronto, LaCroix grew up on the sounds of the folk music of the 1960's. Her father, a former singer who performed with Canadian vocal group, The Halifax Three, in which he shared vocals with the late Denny Doherty, another Canadian singer who went on to become the voice of the Mamas and the Papas, was her first musical influence. One of her earliest memories is of listening to the different voices on her Dad’s old LPs and trying to guess which was his.
Growing up at home 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. “I think it’s a shame that so many kids grow up thinking of music as something that is on a screen 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.”
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. “I loved hearing their road stories about the Pete Seeger Hootenanny Tours with the Big 3, the Journeymen, and other seminal folk groups. The ’60s was a time of real social change, and music was a big part of that. They told stories about joining protests outside segregated venues, getting run out of town by the KKK, and I grew up learning that there was a natural connection between music-making and social issues. I’ve always thought of playing music as an activity that brings people together, facilitates communication and heals rifts.”
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. It’s universal, I guess. Even as a listener, I can think of very few styles of music I enjoy that are completely void of the blues element.”
These days, LaCroix’s style and her own unique approach to delivering a song are unmistakable. “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.”