The wagging butt of a tailless dog, a philosophical conversation between a tattered trash bag and a shard of glass, plus all the real-life expressions of love and laughter and hope and heartache that color everyday people's lives. These are the experiences of Trashbag Birdie, the third solo CD by singer-songwriter Joni Laurence, a girl with a guitar who is anything but 'just another' girl with a guitar. While the sound of Joni Laurence certainly has it's roots in folk music, Trashbag Birdie veers slightly from the feel of Joni's two previous releases as she explores the boundaries of the folk genre. The fourteen original tracks cover a wide range of styles, from the funk driven electric guitar energy of 'Sneak-up' to the irresistible sweetness of 'I Love You' to the imaginative storyline and upbeat, foot-tapping tempo of 'Trashbag Birdie,' which will stick in your head for days after you've heard it only once. Community radio D.J., Kevin Elliott, WEFT 90.1, has this to say about Trashbag Birdie: 'Trashbag Birdie is one of my favorite CDs of the year. Joni has stirred up an eclectic menu of styles, embellished by a stellar supporting cast. She is in fine voice, with her customary mix of lyrical sensitivity and wit. This is Joni at her best...I really love this CD.' In Joni's performances, the Midwestern roots of a woman born and raised in Illinois clearly show themselves. She tells a few stories, but mostly let's the music speak for itself, which happens effortlessly because of Joni's simple and accessible, while still captivating, performance style. Joni's early influences, audible in her music, include Mary Chapin Carpenter, the Indigo Girls and Nanci Griffith, although her earliest influences were likely her musical parents, who once sang duets on central Illinois' first television variety show, the Possum Holler Opry. Whatever her influences, Joni has been drawing audiences into her world - and keeping them there - for over 10 years while performing in and around the Midwest at venues such as The Old Town School of Folk, Chicago, IL and the Blue Moon Coffee House, Bloomington, IL. Joni's two previous releases, Short Time (1998) and daphne speaks (2000) have received high praise. The creative songwriter has been a finalist in a number of song writing contests including the Songwriters Association of Washington Song Contest and the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and she has opened for such artists as Carrie Newcomer, John Gorka and Lynn Miles, among others. In a way, Joni Laurence is indeed 'just another' girl with a guitar, just like Eleanor Roosevelt was just another radical First Lady and Donna Summers was just another disco queen. Joni is set apart by her unique and soul-stirring talent for translating the human experience into insightful lyrics and unforgettable music. Ben Omart of the Muse's Muse, in reviewing Short Time is right - Joni Laurence is simply, purely and wonderfully 'gifted.'
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