WXPN Welcomes Lake Street Dive with Special Guest Madison Cunningham
The title of Lake Street Dive's most recent album, Free Yourself Up, is both an exhortation to listeners and a statement of purpose for the band. The songs have an infectious swagger, even when dealing with awkward breakups or the unsettled state of our world. Free Yourself Up is Lake Street Dive's most confident album yet, seriously soulful and exuberantly rocking. And, in many ways, it is Lake Street Dive's most intimate and collaborative, with the band itself taking over the production reins and working as a tightly knit unit to craft these ten songs. In addition, the quartet drafted touring keyboardist Akie Bermiss to join them in the studio, literally freeing the band up to explore a wider range of instrumental textures, construct more full-bodied arrangements, and build stacks of lively background harmonies.
Lake Street Dive was for many years a self-reliant unit. After forming in 2004, while all the members were studying at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, they assiduously built a following through a series of independent album releases, countless club tours, and a few lucky breaks. In 2013, producer T Bone Burnett invited them to join a star-studded lineup at a New York City concert where they practically stole the show -- and wound up with a deal from Nonesuch Records. The band's label debut, Side Pony, was greeted with raves. Rolling Stone called it "irresistible" and the Boston Globe said, "Side Pony is a confident, expertly played statement from a band that's been honing its approach for more than a decade, and it clearly shows that Lake Street Dive is ready to make itself known to whatever audiences have yet to succumb to its many charms." Free Yourself Up is the sound of a democratic party, organized by a band that has bolstered its deep well of talent with a healthy supply of mutual trust.
Appearing with Lake Street Dive is Orange County, CA native, Madison Cunningham. Possessing a keen understanding of songcraft that is perplexing for someone who is just twenty-two years old, Madison has an ear for melody that is reminiscent of early Joni Mitchell and an approach to guitar and vocals that isn't far off from long past heroes of Jeff Buckley or Nick Drake. Madison exhibits a unique ability to keep the listener on the edge. She first picked up a guitar at age seven, and by age twelve was singing and performing alongside her five siblings in church. By the age of fifteen, Madison realized songwriting was a passion she wanted to pursue. It was a happenstance meeting with producer Tyler Chester (Blake Mills, Sara Watkins) six years ago that helped Madison start to develop her approach as a songwriter. Now at the age of twenty-two, Madison is a frequent guest on Chris Thile's Live From Here and has toured with Punch Brothers, Andrew Bird and Lucius among others. She has just released the stunning For The Sake Of The Rhyme EP on Verve Forecast ahead of her debut full length coming in mid-2019.