Fiddler, bandleader, and singer-songwriter Laura Cortese (of Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards) wrote the music for the band’s new album Bitter Better in an entirely different world—pre-pandemic. However, its themes of “resilience and relief and release,” as she tells David Templeton in an upcoming Strings cover feature, feel especially prescient. The album is set for release July 17 on Compass Records.


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This music video for “Typhoon” was filmed in Belgium, where the album was recorded. Of this piece, Cortese says, “I was introduced to the concept of speed writing by my co-conspirator on Miles of Music camp, Kristin Andreassen. This song was written in one such speed writing session at her Brooklyn apartment pretty soon after my divorce. We exchanged 6 prompts and then spent the next 3 hours each in our little rooms spending no more than 30 minutes to start and finish each song. This prompt was ‘natural disaster.’ I had the song for quite a while without knowing what it was really about. I pulled it out last winter in Belgium and added the chorus and it finally made sense to me. It is about the internal work that we undertake after serious crisis.”

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