Baltimore folk songstress, Letitia VanSant, hosts a magical night of harmony with Toronto roots-rock duo.
About The Young Novelists:
When they first met, Graydon James and Laura Spink had no idea that they would be married one day — much less touring the world together as The Young Novelists. Since the band’s inception in 2009, they’ve played stages across the U.S. and Canada, released three full-length albums, won numerous awards and continuous praise for their unmatched, effortless harmonies. But for their new album in city & country, the Toronto-based band decided to travel out of the city and in to small-town Ontario in order to connect the two places. After years of firsthand experience combined with historical research, James and Spink wrote over 30 songs inspired by a dozen Canadian towns. From that set, in city & country was born — a collection of ten songs that tell the universal stories of both parallels while highlighting the differences, similarities, and everything in-between.
While their upcoming album in city & country will technically be their fourth album, it is their third studio album and second under the current moniker. Their last record made us strangers landed them a Canadian Folk Music Award for New/Emerging Artist, a Vocal Group of the Year nomination, and reached top 20 on !earshot’s and Stingray Music’s (formerly Galaxie) folk charts. The same year, the band won the Grassy Hill Connecticut Folk Songwriting competition and James received the Ontario Art Council’s prestigious Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award. But 2016 was an even bigger year for the two — Spink quit her job as a scientist, they packed their things (and their five year old son Simon), and went on a massive North American tour. After over 100 shows, including a 10-week stint on the road, the pair returned to Toronto to start working on in city & country, drawing inspiration from their travels.
Letitia VanSant's lyrics are at once personally and politically relevant. Hailed as one of Baltimore's strongest songwriters (BmoreArt), her distinct voice is fortified by sparse indie folk and Americana arrangements.
In her music as in her life, VanSant’s has always sought to wrestle with worthy questions. Before her return to Baltimore, VanSant earned a Human Rights Humanitarian Issues concentration from Macalester College (St. Paul, MN). Afterwards she worked for the Obama campaign in Detroit, and then doing environmental organizing in Baltimore. Five years of work with a progressive advocacy group landed her in Washington DC. On weekends, she reflected on the state of society through her songs, earning a regional following in coffee shops and clubs.
“We are in this political crisis in part because we have a lot of spiritual work to do,” says VanSant. “This moment requires us to think deeply about our priorities, to confront our fears, to really know ourselves. We have to build the relationships and the emotional fortitude to sustain a movement.”
Upon weighing the power of music to move people, she ultimately left her nine-to- five job to become a musician. She hasn’t looked back since, and for good reason. In 2017 she won the Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competition, an honor shared along with the likes of Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovette, Nanci Griffith, Anais Mitchell, and Caroline Spence. Songs from her new album have also won critical acclaim from the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest (Gold; Folk Category), Falcon Ridge (Emerging Artist), and Rocky Mountain Folks Fest Songwriting Contest (1st Alternate). She’s graced the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and placed among the Top 10 listener-voted “Songs of the Year” by her local radio station 89.7 WTMD.
FRI AUG 24 | 8PM | $18, $15 MEMBERS (+$3 At the door)