Playfully poignant cosmopolitan Philly pop-folkie Laura Mann has been part of our consciousness for so long (the three-part harmonies of Elysian Fields in the late 80s, her own soulful solo career starting in 1994, the punk-ish Laura + the Lifeboys in-between) that you almost didn’t realize that she had taken a break from making music to house and book it.
That’s what she did or has done with Ardmore’s intimate The Living Room at 35 East, a boutique 40-seat listening room, filled with couches and comfy chairs, where Jeffrey Gaines, Freedy Johnston, Phil Nicolo and, soon, Chris Schwartz, perform.
Now that The Living Room is up and established, Mann was in a mood to make some music. “I haven’t released an album since 2010, and I felt it was time to express some things,” said Mann. “One of the themes on the album, then, is that we take the time to slow down and really listen to one another.”
That is the warm, round sound and vision of Plain as Day, which she’ll debut tonight, Friday, October 11th at World Café Live with old friends, Vernon Reid, and Steve Butler on the bill. “I was really excited to work with my long-time collaborator Charlton Pettus on this project at Shabby Road Studio in Sherman Oaks, CA. We’ve been working together for nearly two decades. I also had the exciting opportunity to record a duet with Freedy Johnston – a remake of the song “Eyes Without a Face.”
To keep matters homegrown, Mann finished her Plain as Day album with Phil Nicolo at Studio 4 in Conshohocken, therefore giving the plaintive proceedings a dense, yet aerated sheen.