With "a voice bigger than her years" (Paperback Juke-box), Laura Kemp has been captivating Northwest audiences with her unique brand of acoustic poetry since 1990. A dynamic performer, she can crank it up with a driving passion that puts listeners on the edge of their seats, and then turn them inside out with a tear-jerking ballad. With refined confidence and uncompromising frankness she establishes an immediate rapport with the audience.
Described by the Eugene Folklore Society as "a musical poet...one of the bright shining stars we are fortunate to experience," she has been singing and playing the guitar since the age of eight. Her guitar playing is largely rooted in folk, though her years of living in Nashville give her a "bluegrass edge" that can be heard in songs such as "I Know, You Know" and "Everytime I Close My Eyes." Her years of vocal lessons and singing in the Vanderbilt and Eugene Concert Choirs are apparent in the strength and wide range of her powerful voice.
Since the 1992 release of her first album, I Hope They Like the Rain, she has performed at some of the region's most well respected venues and festivals such as the High Sierra Music Festival, Seattle Folklife, the Oregon Country Fair, Eugene Celebration, Willamette Valley Folk Festival, and the Salem Art Fair and Festival. She won "Favorite Female Performer" honors for the 1994 WOW Hall performers and "Best Local Band/Musician" from In Town Magazine. She took first place in the 1992 Alaskan Bald Eagle Music Festival Songwriter Competition, has been featured on Fast Folk, and was selected as a performer in the Eastside Sound Welcomes the 17th Annual Folk Alliance in Portland. Her second recording, Volcano, released in November 1994 and receiving national airplay, ranked in the top 5 albums of 1994 on acoustic programs on KRVM in Eugene and KUOP in Stockton, CA.
Quoted from the Northwest Music News, "there is little doubt in anybody's mind
that hears Kemp live, that she is destined for greater things. A solid writer
with a performance style that is reminiscent of Nanci Griffith, Kemp
could hold her own with any of the established artists now making acoustic alternative
the new sound of the nineties." Additional info can be found at Laura's
You sounded great! I like a woman who can play the guitar
Give Bob Dylan a good voice and you 've got the idea of the impact of Laura Kemp 's message and music.
The language of song is very well understood by Laura, who gives astounding voice to many issues in the world today.
Best described as a musical poet, the words accompanying her music show a unique insight and an ability to paint vivid lyrical pictures.
Kempís songs erupt as four minute flows (more often explosions) of self-understanding.
She's got what it takes. By that I mean that I think someday we're all gonna look back and say we knew her.
---Walker T. Ryan
Maybe it's something in the water, but there are a lot of exciting singer-songwriters coming out of Eugene, OR, and Laura Kemp is one to keep an ear on. With her graceful and powerful vocals and her crisp confident guitar work, she promises a good ride and delivers a great one.
---Jan Brick, WERS, Boston, Coffeehouse Coordinator
An exceptional singing voice, poetic songwriting, and proficient guitar work blend with an upbeat vitality that quickly established Laura Kemp as among the Northwest 's finest musicians.