The Ladles, comprised of fiddle/singer Lucia Purpura-Pontoniere, guitarist/singer Katie Martucci, and banjoist/singer Caroline Kuhn met at the New England Conservatory of Music’s contemporary improvisational program. It turns out they were the only 3 females in that class. Before graduation, they had gotten to work on their original brand of music releasing a self-titled EP in 2016. In 2019, they released their first full-length debut album, The Line. Well, we all know what happened in 2020 so they took that time to record a new album, The Springville Sessions.
The result is an entrancing chronicle of a singular moment in time, a raw, organic record that hints at everything from I’m With Her and The Wailin’ Jennys to Mountain Man and The Staves as it finds connection and hope in the face of isolation and overwhelming uncertainty. “With only the three of us and an engineer in the room, we were free to just be ourselves,” says Purpura-Pontoniere. “Everything was as intimate as it could possibly be.”
No pill no drink, just the Sunset Pink. This tune with shambles of shredded conversations over haunted melodies and a cello riff that cuts into your hardened membranes begins the album. Enticing and inviting, you know this song will linger as they invite you to explore the rest of the musical offerings of this stellar album.
Crushing carries us into that patio parked watching families walk their dogs, strollers, still scrolling while walking. Taking it all in… waiting to speak my mind… simple song with humble harmonies. As we move into the album of 9 songs, the banjo backup of rambling wanderings hits hard as another song of supplemented time out in quarantine quells your hardened heart.
“Nobody knew it would hit this hard”
Thank You for the bass line grounding for this song. Thank you for the love given in this song. Pleasant pitch and motivating movement and melody. This album brings me back to life. Like a pleasant Wednesday, knowing there is a week left to go and getting on by despite the daily struggles. Thursday morning, brought back to life!
Sugarcoat is a song in minor amusement. It is a reminder that all that glitters is not gold. Is this an homage to being the only females in your musical program? Doesn’t matter that you are right there. The silence shines in this song as a perfect example of the notes not played that leave room in your heart to grow. Serenading the simply beautiful as the lyrics say, shadows and the light. We may have not been here before but for women, it’s a familiar feeling of not being able to get where they want to go without a struggle.
While life may be a struggle for this time-stamped collection of songs, the sweet melodies could not have come from any other time, place, or trio of musicians. The track Baltimore has octaves beyond this atmosphere, “Wishing that I was someone else.” There is a lot of love for the lonely packed into these 9 songs. Pages push the soft sweetness with very personal lyrics. Flipping through pages searching for traces of what was to come. How often have we been blindsided by our daily woes wondering where it came from and what we could have done differently?
The Ladles paint a portrait of these times in their music. If you are inclined towards feminine mystique, or if you just need some sweet soulful melodies, turn to the Springville Sessions. Humanitarian, humble, yet evocative these 9 tunes are a sweet love letter straight to your heart. Reminiscent of honey, the offerings are a well-collaborated compliment that drips thick.