Singer leaps from anonymous radio comedienne to worldwide musical acclaim
DALLAS, July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — With the release of Laura Ainsworth’s new CD, “Necessary Evil” (Eclectus Records), critics are asking, “Where has she been hiding?!” She laughs, “I was all over the radio. It’s just that nobody mentioned my name until now.”
Ms Ainsworth is a behind-the-scenes radio star whose parody songs such as “Santa Baby (Help Me Through Recession Tonight)” at www.lauraainsworth.com are heard worldwide, most recently on longtime fan Mike Huckabee’s national radio show. But her comedy songs are usually played without crediting the artist.
Few of her radio clients knew that Ms Ainsworth also has a serious musical career. The stunning redhead dons glittery gowns and long satin gloves and revitalizes the music she grew up loving as the daughter of late, legendary big band musician, Billy Ainsworth.
Ms Ainsworth recalls, “My dad was playing sax behind Frank Sinatra at 17. I grew up watching him accompany my idols, like Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett. As a child, I remember thinking, ‘That’s what I want to do!’ I didn’t realize that even then, hardly anybody was doing that anymore.”
There’s now a growing scene of artists replicating vintage music, but Ms Ainsworth is not a museum curator. She calls her style “nu-vintage.” With her partner, jazz piano master Brian Piper, she reinvents songs from the 1920s to today, mixing in jazz, retro pop, lounge, bop, and the high-style elegance of the great mid-century Vegas performers she grew up worshiping. In the ’50s, Sinatra and Fitzgerald put their stamp on decades-old songs and created definitive new versions. Likewise, Ms Ainsworth brings her own twists to her unique song choices. In her hands, the rinky-tink ’30s tune “One More Time” becomes achingly seductive, while the ’40s standard “Out of This World” transforms into an intoxicating blend of ’50s exotica and modern world jazz. Her new album, “Necessary Evil,” even features a brand new big band swing number, “Last Train to Mercerville,” whose clever lyric weaves together dozens of titles by her favorite songwriter, Johnny Mercer.
Her 2011 debut album had critics raving about her “satiny, impossibly old-fashioned voice.” Now, “Necessary Evil” has upped the ante, drawing comparisons to the classic Capitol and Verve albums of the ’50s. Reviewers marvel that it’s as if Peggy Lee or Julie London were making new music in 2013. “Necessary Evil” has been called “brilliant,” goosebump-inducing, and the kind of album Mae West and Jay Gatsby would uncork champagne to. She’s again enjoying worldwide radio play, only this time, DJs are actually mentioning her name. Eric Harabadian in the prestigious Jazz Inside magazine even declared, “You can keep all those pop divas. The only one for me is Laura Ainsworth.”
All the sudden praise and attention is a bit overwhelming for an artist who’s used to working behind the scenes. But it’s especially gratifying for a very personal reason.
Ms Ainsworth says, “I wish my dad were here to see that even after rock, rap and grunge, the sophisticated, romantic music he helped create is still alive and growing. I hope he’d be proud that I’m moving his classic jazz and big band sounds into the 21st century.”