Laura Cortese is at the center of a collaborative string-based community. Her recording projects have had a definite group vibe ” bringing together different combinations of very talented musicians, including some of the finest string players around. When Laura sat down with Matt Watroba at the Folk Alliance Conference in Toronto, she brought along Mariel Vandersteel and Valerie Thompson, representing the next generation of artists who are just as comfortable playing in a variety of bands as they are assembling their own CDs. The group discussed creating strong fiddle music and the special energy a female-centered ensemble adds.
Cortese grew up in San Francisco and moved to Boston to study violin at Berklee College of Music. She has since immersed herself in the city’s vibrant indie music scene and enjoyed a busy sideman career, which has included appearances with Band of Horses at Carnegie Hall, Pete Seeger at Newport Folk Festival, and Patterson Hood and Michael Franti for Seeger’s ninetieth birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden. She performs frequently with Jocie Adams of the Low Anthem and can be heard on Adams’s upcoming album. Cortese’s new collection is Into the Dark, songs reaching the rougher side of life.