Press Kit - Laramie Crocker


Artist Name: Laramie Crocker

Lead Vocalist, Backing Vocalist, Guitarist, Songwriter/Composer/Choral Arranger

Home: Berkeley, CA, but went bi-coastal in 1999.

Contact:
  web: LaramieCrocker.com/contact.html
  phone: (510) 703-9350

Website: LaramieCrocker.com

Facebook: laramie.crocker

YouTube: YouTube.com/LaramieCrocker

Images

 Laramie Crocker - Redemption  


click to download full-size images.
photographs: Wend Elsen
Laramie Crocker DSCF7905
DSCF9265-c Laramie Crocker - Brownsville General Store

Bio

Born December 3, 1964 in Oakland, CA.

Raised by Bay Area concert pianist and choral director Joy Crocker, and U.C. Berkeley musicology professor and Gregorian Chant specialist Richard Crocker.

Classically trained six years in the San Francisco Boys Chorus under Madi Bacon, Calvin Simmons, Don Osborne, and Dr. William Ballard, performed onstage with Beverly Sills, Placido Domingo, Calvin Simmons, Seiji Ozawa, and others with the San Francisco Opera and Symphony. Sang with the choir for President Ford at the annual Christmas Tree lighting, and on European tour.

Raised in Berkeley: First psychedelic experience at age 7, Yoga with Swami Vignanananda, "est" training with Werner Erhard.

Heard Al Green on the 3rd grade bussing school bus transistor radio, 1972. First album bought: Earth, Wind and Fire: That's the Way of the World. Saw Led Zeppelin live in concert.

Sang in numerous church choirs in the Bay Area.

Studied bass with Peter Apfelbaum.

Vocal and songwriting training with jazz and blues singer Brenda Boykin.

Jazz harmony, melody and theory with Jenny Scheinman

Guitar training with jazz guitarist Mimi Fox.

Studied Pro-Tools recording and mixing with Bond Bergland (San Pablo Recorders), and Charlie Wilson (Sonic Zen Records).

Vocal training with Hannibal Means (protege of Nina Simone).

Vocal training with Raz Kennedy (Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra).

Performed at events during the last album tour (Welcome to Club Fed) onstage with Gov. Howard Dean, George Lakoff, Patricia and Daniel Elsberg, Granny D, and Utah Phillips.

   "Laramie is the Tom Lehrer of our times, the Musical Michael Moore" --Patricia Ellsberg and Daniel Ellsberg, author, "The Pentagon Papers"

Education

Berkeley High, California, class of 1982.

U.C. Berkeley, B.S. Mechanical Engineering, class of 1989.

Music Production Credits


Co-produced and recorded live music series in Berkeley, CA LiveAndUnplugged.org
Recorded Bay Area ensemble "Babes in the Woods" (Kristan Wilits and Myra Joy) demo (2006)
Produced, recorded and mixed Joy Crocker's classical and original piano works on the CD "Joy Crocker: I Am Music" (2006)
Produced, recorded and mixed Vermont singer-songwriter Greg Goedwaagen's five-song demo "Letters Home" (2008)
Produced all albums listed below, under "Discography - Laramie Crocker"

Discography - Laramie Crocker:


Death by Cheese (1999)
Love and Peace in the Time of War (2003)
Welcome to Club Fed (2004) (Toured as U.S. Provisional Authority)
100 Years (2005)
Died Again (2006, demo)
Crazy (2009)
   disc 1: Redemption
   disc 2: Stereoville, USA
Happier Days (2009)
5 Koans (2009)
The Death of Finbar McGrath (2012-2014)

See all CDs here


Album Cover Images

(Click thumbnails to download full-sized images)

Crazy
  Album Back
Crazy
  Album Front
Crazy ::
 Redemption
Crazy ::
 Stereoville, USA
Welcome to Club Fed 100 Years
Laramie Crocker - Crazy Laramie Crocker - Crazy - Cover Art Laramie Crocker - Redemption Laramie Crocker - Stereoville, USA Laramie Crocker - Welcome to Club Fed Laramie Crocker - 100 Years


Current Album

Crazy
[2009]
"Double Make-out Album of the Year"

On disc 1, "Redemption", Laramie Crocker brings his sweet, three-octave baritone voice, poetic storytelling, and arresting, original harmonies, layered lush, to the mix with acclaimed improvisers Ches Smith (drums), Todd Sickafoose (bass), and Gawain Mathews (guitar). The music is hard to put in a box: a little bit Americana, singer-songwriter, 1960's rock-n-roll, but with flavors of English folk, Pub-Rock, Gospel, Jazz, and Psychedelic. Laramie calls it "Psychedelic Gospel Pub." Redemption was done live in the studio, by Bond Bergland at San Pablo Recorders in Berkeley, then layered with vocal harmony and Fx. The effect is like having a live, male vocal quintet with a funky jazz trio in a nice venue.

Disc 2, "Stereoville, USA", was recorded at Laramie's home studio during the time it took to produce and mix Redemption, so has a more guerilla-recording, loopy vibe, with the same lead vocal approach (but loopier and run through echoplexers), word-smithy lyrics, raucous vocal ensemble, backed by Laramie's own guitar playing -- raw, jangly, percussive, polyrhythmic, and punk, more Oud than guitar at times. The effect is dreamy, psychedelic, hypnotic and weird, while still being somehow familiar and catchy. Influences of baltic and middle eastern music, punk rock, gospel, barber shop, Good Vibrations, Led Zeppelin IV, Stereolab, Stevie Wonder, and Al Green.

Read a review on: Ana´s Nin's Blog


Charts for Redemption
Lyrics for Redemption
Lyrics for Stereoville, USA

You can listen to all the tracks here: Crazy

Laramie's Description of the Album

This album, Crazy, (the "Double Make-Out Album of the Year", MoFo) is what it sounds like inside my head, which I want to share with you. It is a personal journey, an epic of ballads and grooves. It is a stereophonic romp through warm amplifiers, middle-aged madness, love, loss, and the nature of being. Disc 1, Redemption, is a search for redemption. Disc 2, Stereoville, USA is more existential.

Lyric from Fire+Aire:

	Papa was the go-to man for Gregorian Chant
Mama played piano like the Mona Lisa smiles
and directed choirs like falling water
like Niagara
like blown glass menageries
like children
Redemption was death
Crazy is rebirth
I am the beautiful bird that emerges from the licking fire.

Laramie's Track Descriptions:

I'd love it if you gave the album a listen -- it represents two years of pouring out music and turning expensive knobs, and I don't really know how to describe it to you in words. But if you want to read some words, in addition to the lyrics, then these might whet your appetite:

Redemption

The whole disc resonates with the gorgeous sparkle of guitars, shimmering cymbals, dancing drums and funky, warm acoustic bass. (Ches, Todd, and Gawain are a true joy to play with.) Choirs come and go, floating through the ether, guided by a lead story-teller on melodic vocal lines. The disc hangs together as one band telling one full story. Within that, the tracks are distinct:

Wanderstomp - Roadhouse rock-n-roll. A train picking up speed, plumeting into the depths carefree.

When the Devil Came to California -- The Devil, screaming guitars and electric motorcycle amplifiers, flamenco acid rock, heavenly choirs.

The Perfect Crime -- Electrified and funky. The Devil, Dick Cheney, and Me. My own 9/11. A bass-heavy dance groove to bring in the Bush Years.

Brownsville General Store -- An epic country gospel ballad. Heaven and Hell on Earth, as sung from the front porch. A song that wraps you in its plump, comforting arms, and occasionally shouts out at passers-by.

Mary -- from a slow, gravelly Leonard Coen-esque ballad of lost love to Cuban duet to high-pitched jiggy feel-good pub song.

Lay Me Down -- Old-timey vocals (with Wend Elsen), a love song, a hymn to lost loved ones and to flag-draped soldiers.

Stay -- Time-shifting, gospel, orchestral, a journey. The raw and the refined. Strains of "She's So Heavy" and Jeff Buckley's "Mojo Pin." A hymn and a call to the departed. "Visit me in dreams and downpours, between drops of rain."

Electricity -- A dream in an electrified rainstorm, a moody, weird, trippy love song with subterranean chant, and a musical sunrise.

American Gypsy -- Slide guitar galore, our roadhouse alt-country band gets on the road once more, with an ethereal choir. The power of the heart to love and yodel again.

Good Days Coming -- Trippy, old-timey, manic-depressive, hopeful. A campfire song. A bouncy denouement to the epic story of Redemption.

You can listen to all the tracks here: Crazy
And read the lyrics for Redemption


Stereoville, USA

Stereoville, USA sounds very different from Redemption - it is a solo effort, based on more recent songwriting. It came out of me while I was creating Redemption, so I decided to release the two discs together - cooked vs. raw, group vs. solo, professional vs. amateur. They fit together in one mindspace.

The Cat Came Back -- Rockabilly stalker, to "Back in the USSR", to what an American Gypsy Techno Surf Punk might sound like, with a mouth-trombone solo.

Rodeo Girl -- good old heartland protest ballad, but with the Platters on backup and on X.

Dream -- Instrumental. Electric guitars, fretless bass, and acoustic guitars sounding like bells, doing dreamy, if slightly drunk, counterpoint.

O Youth -- Ice cream swirly lollipops, layered jangly guitar, stereo gospel echoboy midlife crisis poetryslam sung, and overtone throat singing.

Paranoia -- Guaranteed to give you nightmare Orwelian flashbacks of the Bush Years. Industrial loops, fascistic scare tactics, and vocal air raid siren choir.

Faith, Hope and Crazy -- Polyrhythm choirs, guy-and-a-guitar yodelly protest ballad about politics and prophets from Dean to Obama. Coda in major sevenths and hopeful harmonies.

Woman Planet -- Rambling epic space fantasie, gospel funk, complete with rhythm trio jam, ion star drive, and helicopter ships. Light up and kick back.

Fact - BART PSA -- Industrial techno loudspeaker whirlwind broadcast bad-trip in an echoey BART station. In sad reflection of Oscar Grant's short life.

This Land Is Your Land -- Our populist national anthem, delivered straight from the heart, with the lyrics that Guthrie intended.

The Tree Song -- Ode to trees and tree-sitters, psychedelic and dreamy, mournful, hopeful, and rebellious. With the lovely Wend Elsen for twirly, floaty, girly harmonies.

Fire+Aire -- Fire is techno, bass driven poetryslam into echoboy over hillbilly Gregorian chant; Aire is what you get when I mix found sound from my open air studio: rain, trains, birds. Fire takes a crack at explaining the album, Aire lets you listen to my world and leaves you listening to the sounds of your own world.

You can listen to all the tracks here: Crazy
And read the lyrics for Stereoville, USA