David Lawrence and his band The Spoonful are bringing to Colorado a compilation of original music and the debut of their recently released album “Lean In.” This October the Americana, Gypsy-jazz and country-blues instrumental collective will be showcasing their studio-produced album in five Colorado locations, performing melodies by David Lawrence and his soulful story.
“Lean In” is a poetic journey, written from the authentic storytelling of David Lawrence. The album celebrates his story of bringing new life into the world as a new father and professional musician, writing and producing a full album within six months. His lyrics send a message of faith and describe his process of “leaning in” to the possibilities and the responsibilities in life. Within 10 tracks, David Lawrence and The Spoonful skillfully mix these raw emotions with energetic instrumentals —featuring David Lawrence on guitar and vocals, Coleman Smith on the fiddle and mandolin, Jon Wirtz on the organ, Gabe Mervine on trumpet, Bonnie Culpepper on background vocals and Gary Sloan and Bob splitting playing upright bass.
Dedicated to his wife, David Lawrence wrote the album and third track, “Lean In” with a nostalgic ambiance sewn into a heartfelt performance. The single track illustrates the emotions and vulnerability of leaning into a first kiss and reminisces on the excitement and hopeful feelings of newfound love. The track encompasses the true essence of the album and its positive message of taking risks and having the faith to stay hopeful and authentic in vulnerable moments.
What is the creative process of writing songs with a very personalized narrative while keeping in mind the other band members and what their instrumentals and vocals will incorporate into the storytelling?
The creative process is one of trust. The creative process is one of letting other artists speak to the lyrical content in the way that they interpret it— the thing that I value in music is collaboration, spontaneity, improvisation, and letting other voices shine through. The process was starting with the lyrics, starting with the basic chords, making sure that form felt really good, and then exploring where it could go with people that we love and trust. Coleman Smith has this incredible knack for taking my music and embedding even more of the essence of what the song is, and on top of it, he just feels what the emotion of the music is. We had a lot of people on the album that knew how to do that and knew how to serve the music.
Is there a song or lyric that you're particularly attached to on the album?
My favorite track on the album is the title track “Lean In”. I wrote the song recently but it goes all the way back to like 11 years ago when I first leaned in to kiss my wife and I think it got in my head because we're going through this crazy process of bringing a baby into the world and I kept just reminiscing about that first time being with her and meeting her and how quickly I knew that she was going to be my life partner and that kind of inspired the song.
It was kind of a trip because I had finished the album and wrote and recorded it. It was mixed and mastered and done. And then I wrote the song, “Lean In” and I played it for my wife, and I played it for my producer Tom, then that day I went in with Coleman my fiddle player and Gary my bass player and we just cut it live pretty much and knocked it out. The stripped-down nature of it really reminds me of the way that we play live, that synergy of a live performance.
We had captured that essence of the butterflies in your stomach and the nerves that you have when you're trying to take a risk to see if that person is going to lean back for that kiss. And it just kind of summed up my life right now, it's summed up trying to be an authentic artist, trying to be vulnerable, trying to be real and share my soul on this album. You just have to take a risk, you just have to lean in, and it has become this mantra for me of what this chapter in my life needs to be.
What vulnerable emotions did you feel while writing this album with your wife in mind?
I think it's multifaceted to what that word vulnerability means in the context of this album and in my life, and I think it's an emotion that we all deal with all the time, being involved in any art and any endeavor in your life. Whether you're a musician or whether you're working a job to get to the next place in your life. You have to open your heart a little bit, just not take yourself so seriously and to trust yourself. We often are scared of what other people think of us and we're so afraid of who we really are and how other people are going to perceive us that we build walls, and we build a story about who we are that we want to tell other people. That we want to tell ourselves.
How did this vulnerability set the pace for the next steps in your musical career?
We're so often trying to put up that facade and put up the wall of what we think other people want us to be. But when you're able to strip that away and show who you really are, that's the richness in life that shines through and makes you feel good. But it's the hardest thing to do because we're so trained in our lives to tell ourselves that we're not good enough. And when you say to yourself, I'm going to write original music, there’s this aspect of trying to put on a facade of what you think the world wants your music to sound like and there’s that other aspect where you have to say no, I am going to do this for me because I want my authentic self to come through. And that is hard. When you just say that this is my music and take it or leave it, it’s scary and that’s just something that we're all in the process of trying to accept and I think this album was a step in the right direction for that journey for myself.
What journey are you walking the audience members through?
I think the feeling that I try to walk the fine line between is the duality of life, where things that are really painful, sometimes have sweetness in them, and things that seem like they're really perfect, sometimes have a little bit of pain or baggage in them as well. When I write songs, I try to make them have an array of feelings in them where it's not just black and white—I like to have my songs mean different things for different people. And that way they can make that song their song and they can find themselves in it. That is my ultimate goal when it comes to this album and the songs that I write.
What do you envision for your upcoming tour?
I want to share a little bit of my soul, that's what this project is about, just building a relationship, building a connection with the audience. That's what music is at its finest. It's a conversation that we're having together. This album is a big story and I hope that when people come see us live, they walk away and they say, I like what they're doing, I feel like I know them a little more. We always play a lot of originals, but we always like to throw in some covers that kind of showcase our influences, like a Taj Mahal song or some old Django Reinhardt Gypsy jazz tune. I like to make sure that history and the influences in my music always pay homage to them. So that's what we're hoping to do with these shows: give people a balanced sort of approach to where the music is at with the band right now.
David Lawrence and the Spoonful play the last leg of their Colorado album release tour October 21 @ 63rd St. Farm in Boulder
For more information, visit davidlawspoonful.com