A Friend Too Long - Released October 9, 2014
Lac La Belle's third release, "A Friend Too Long", elaborates upon their cohesive duo of resonator guitar, banjo, accordion and ukulele, with the addition of upright bass, pump organ, piano, percussion and strings. Written in a secluded cabin in Michigan's upper peninsula, and recorded in their Detroit home during the snowiest winter on record, "A Friend Too Long" provides beautiful soundscapes and a journey of characters that sound at once both new, and reminiscent of days long past.
Recording "A Friend Too Long"
Photo series by Riva Sayegh-McCullen and Chris McCullen
Lac La Belle is an acoustic duo from Detroit, Michigan, made up of multi-instrumentalists and songwriters Jennie Knaggs & Nick Schillace. Influenced by early Americana, Lac La Belle blend history with the present, to create stories that capture the human experience. Lac La Belle offer it with expertise, via accordion, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, harmonizing vocals, and fingerpicking resonator guitar.
What sets this acoustic duo apart is their utilization of their varied experiences; Schillace has a separate career performing his instrumental guitar pieces, and he wrote the first academic work on the recordings of John Fahey; Knaggs has history with New Music compositions and improvisations, including her vocal work in Matthew Barney’s film “River of Fundament”. This with their separate experiences learning folk and blues in Appalachia, American roots binds the duo’s compositions with a heavy thread.
With the release of their third album, "A Friend Too Long", (October 2014), Lac La Belle elaborate upon their cohesive duo, with the addition of upright bass, pump organ, piano, percussion and strings. Written in a secluded cabin in Michigan's upper peninsula, and recorded in their Detroit home during the snowiest winter on record, "A Friend Too Long" animates the lives of fictional characters grappling with the tensions between the urban and the rural, the individual and the community, economic decay and the land of plenty.
The group has completed six tours of the mid-west, south and east, and has completed two European tours in 2012, 2013, with a third slated for 2015. Their performance styles vary to the venue, often including their arrangements of old time, 1920’s western swing, Dixieland, folk and blues tunes.
Notable appearances include
Hiawatha Festival (Marquette, MI)
Ann Arbor Summer Festival, (Ann Arbor, MI)
Showcase artist Folk Alliance Mid West (FARM) (St. Louis, MO)
Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour broadcast (Lexington, KY)
Dally in the Alley, (Detroit MI);
Whofest (Chattanooga, TN),
The Chicago Calling Festival (Chicago, IL)
The Avant Fairfax Festival (Fairfax, VA)
American Autumn series (Orense, Spain)
JENNIE KNAGGS mined folk music first hand, meeting and playing with musicians of Central and Southern Appalachia during her course of travel and advocacy work in the region. She is the 2000 Hollerin’ Champion of Wise Co., Virginia and Letcher Co., Kentucky, has studied opera and has toured Europe in various vocal ensembles, including a residency in Labro, Italy in 2011. She continues to sing with the fifteen piece Odu Afrobeat Orchestra, composes and performs in a microtonal duo with pianist Clem Fortuna, and teaches voice privately and in workshops. Knaggs is the principal vocalist in Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s new film, “River of Fundament”, which features several of her original compositions, including “The Hovering of the Khu” and “The Ballad of the Bullfighter”.
NICK SCHILLACE is recognized as a solo instrumentalist who has contributed to the American Primitive guitar canon with his releases Box Canyon (2005) and Landscape and People (2008.) Raised by folk and blues enthusiasts, he acquired early training at Augusta Heritage in Elkins, West Virginia. Other recent work includes tenor guitar in Odu Afrobeat Orchestra, and tenor banjo in the Dixieland group Detroit Pleasure Society. Schillace has toured and performed with other fingerpicking greats, including Bert Jansch, Peter Lang, Jack Rose, Peter Walker, Keenan Lawler, Eric Carbonara and Glenn Jones. Considered an authority on early 20th century American fingerpicking guitar styles, Nick is sought after as an instructor both privately and in workshop settings, and is the owner of Orion Music Studio in Lake Orion, Michigan.
Friday 2/13 - CLEVELAND, OH
Euclid City Limits
w/ Charlie Mosbrook
20150 Lakeshore Blvd, Euclid, Ohio 44123
Doors at 7pm, Music 8pm
Saturday 2/14 -PITTSBURGH, PA
w/The Beagle Brothers w/
very special guest Abby Gross, Elliott Sussman Music
Butler St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15201
Sunday, 2/15 - PHILADELPHIA, PA
Rigby Mansion, (Germantown)
w/Emily Ana Zeitlyn, Chris Kasper
523 East Church Lane, Philadelphia, PA, 19144
Wednesday 2/18 - ASHLAND, VA (near Richmond)
Ashland Coffee and Tea
100 N Railroad Ave, Ashland, Virginia 23005
$10 advance/$12 day of show
Thursday, 2/19 – MONKTON, MD (near Balitimore)
(address supplied upon RSVP)
Refreshments at 6:30pm
Music at 7 p.m.
Friday 2/20 –RADCLIFF, VA
Downey Dog Yoga
w/ Kat Mills
1301 Downey St, Radford, Virginia 24141
Saturday, 2/21 - FLOYD, VA
Americana Afternoons concert series
206 S Locust St, Floyd, Virginia 24091
12:00pm - 3:00pm
Saturday 2/22 – CHARLESTON, WV
The Fireside Lounge (above Little India)
1604 E Washington st, Charleston WV 25311
Friday, 2/27 - Detroit, MI
Stone House Concerts
RSVP to Stonehouseconcerts@gmail.com to reserve a seat and for directions.
Doors open at 7:30pm
Reviews of A Friend Too Long, 2014
“A Friend Too Long is as wildly beautiful and organic as modern music gets.” -James Carlson; No Depression, Roots Music Examiner
“...A timeless yet modern set of songs and their fullest and most complete album yet.” - The Atlas & Anchor
“The sound is raw and heartfelt, tinged with virtuoso-like finger picking throughout...A Friend Too Long is a satisfying listen, start to finish.” - Mike Larson - Detroit Metro Times
“A Friend Too Long” is the third release from Lac La Belle, and by all rights should be the record that puts the tandem of Jennie Knaggs and Nick Schillace on the map. It’s a dynamite gathering of 10 rootsy tunes, recorded during the dead of a frigid Detroit winter, that underscore the duo’s songwriting gifts.”- Jeffrey Sisk - Pittsburgh in Tune
“[Lac La Belle] delivers Americana music in a way that gives the audience a history lesson through a great musical experience.”- Rachel May - The Detroit Free Press
Reviews of Bring on the Light, 2012
"The thirteen songs represent heartfelt, lyrical displays of good'ol folk music with splendid picking, plucking, and strumming . . . Fans of Appalachian folk music, Americana, and old time music will love the music of Lac La Belle." - Matthew Forss, Inside World Music
“This is a wonderful nu-folk duo that knows how to shake off the dust and the stigma to serve up an incredibly hot session that leaves you looking forward to the next one. Well done. - Midwest Record
“[Thier] songs are odes to transition and modern values . . . [Marrying] traditional styles with more ethereal, contemplative musical passages. - Heather Longley, Centre Daily Times
"You can practically hear the bare walls resonating on each cut as Knaggs and Schillace swing into action, heating up the room with vivacity or chilling it back down in backwoods lament...There is indeed a modernistic ring to the affair, but the depth of resonance with the past is blood deep and highly impressive..." - Mark S. Tucker, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Reviews of Lac La Belle, 2010
“[Lac La Belle]...play old-school swinging Western, country and backwoods Americana. Comprised of Detroit's most talented musicians multi-instrumentalist and music aficionado Nick Schillace and the owner of that sweet and plaintive warble, Jennie Knaggs Lac La Belle play pitch-perfect originals in synch with the old-timey classics that are also included in their repertoire.” - Megan ONeal, Detroit Metro Times
"[Lac La Belle's] old-timey revival music is distinctive in that, rather than providing a contemporary twist on music using throwback instrumentation, the band's sound is straight out of early Americana. Knaggs provides warbling vocals and yodels, and her backing band -- Nick Schillace and Joel Peterson, both well-known musicians in their own right -- holds down a startlingly authentic old-time country sound."
- Andy Mulkerin, Pittsburgh City Paper
“Detroit, where the garage rock and noise groups go to breed, is not known for its Americana, folk or country music, but maybe it should be. Lac La Belle’s 10-song collection is fun, it's real, it's a little technical, and gets to the core of American music.” - Josh Humphries, The Daily Reflector , Greenville NC
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A FRIEND TOO LONG - 2014- Lac La Belle's third release, " A Friend Too Long", elaborates upon their cohesive duo of resonator guitar, banjo, accordion and ukulele, with the addition of upright bass, pump organ, piano, percussion and strings. Written in a secluded cabin in Michigan's upper peninsula, and recorded in their Detroit home during the snowiest winter on record, "A Friend Too Long" provides beautiful soundscapes and a journey of characters that sound at once both new, and reminiscent of days long past.
BRING ON THE LIGHT - 2012 - Their second release, as a duo, boasts twelve original works and one traditional arrangement, performed with a variety of instruments from accordion to banjitar. Each song presents a melodic tale, be it an intimate anecdote, or stories on their hometown Detroit, “Bring on the Light” captures the drifting spirit of early America.