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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Amy LaVere a standup act

  • No fear, fans of Amy LaVere. She’ll be playing her standup acoustic bass rather than an electric model while she's on tour.

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  • No fear, fans of Amy LaVere. She’ll be playing her standup acoustic bass rather than an electric model while she's on tour.
    “Sometimes, the electric bass is more suited to the song, but when you’re doing an hour and 15 minute show, the energy of setting it down and picking it back up, you can feel the disappointment in the crowd,” LaVere said during a telephone interview while touring the West Coast. “So I play the standup. It’s one less thing to stuff in the van.”
    LaVere is not only shorter than her instrument, but she plays the bass while singing lead vocals. It’s not unheard of — Sting, Peter Cetera and Paul McCartney are among the notables who mastered the art. But it’s more common for lead singers to play guitar or keyboards because bass rhythm parts typically run counter to the melody.
    LaVere says separating the two parts has never been a problem.
    “I had no idea it was supposed to be hard,” she said. “I had never heard that, so I didn’t know it would be the case. I played a little guitar, but there were all those chords. The bass was one note at a time, so it wasn’t an issue for me.”
    LaVere took to music early in life. She was barely in her teens when she was drumming in a band (using wooden spoons because she didn’t have any sticks), and there were musical inspirations close by at home.
    Before her dad became an ironworker, he played drums. Her mother wrote songs, “and she got a lot of joy out of it,” LaVere said. “She could play guitar and light up a room. I didn’t know if I wanted to be like her or if I thought that’s just what a woman does, (but) it was a very natural thing for me.”
    LaVere has a voice that alternates between sounding like a young girl’s and often haunting tones — particularly on her songs where the protagonist of the story makes the men who did something wrong pay for their sins.
    Her songs include a number of influences — folk, country, blues and other genres.
    ”I don’t have any sort of agenda about what kind of music I’m playing,” LaVere said. “There is not one second of thought of what style the song is written in. It’s whatever naturally comes out. Wherever it falls on in the music business world is up to them.
    “Americana — I don’t know what its real description is, but I find that anything that is not getting enough attention is Americana.”

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