Letitia VanSant Releases Sophomore Album "Circadian"

Article Contributed by IVPR | Published on Monday, February 24, 2020

Known for her honest songwriting that often traces political realities to their spiritual roots, Letitia VanSant is proud to share her much-anticipated sophomore album, Circadian today. Recorded in East Nashville with the help of noted producer Neilson Hubbard (Mary Gauthier, Caroline Spence) and an all-star backing band, Circadian is a cohesive collection of nine poignant and powerful songs that explore both VanSant’s personal struggles as well as environmental and social crises. Paste Magazine praised her depth of empathy while writing about topics like depression, ecological destruction, politics, and her own account of sexual assault, adding, “Even at her most impassioned, VanSant sings to soothe spirits.” No Depression described Circadian as, “A record extolling the need for honesty, empathy, and a call to change society’s most destructive urges.” Circadian is available today, click here to purchase or stream.

In addition to Paste and No Depression, the album has garnered national praise from a multitude of outlets, including Wide Open Country, American Songwriter, The Boot, Substream Magazine, PopMatters, Audiofemme, and Americana Highways.

Entering the studio with the intention of recording a 2-song EP, VanSant and Hubbard both recognized the chemistry between the two of them, the studio musicians, and the songs. At the end of a week’s worth of recording, VanSant walked away with a 9-song album. Many of the songs were recorded live in just 2 or 3 takes with a trio of renowned studio musicians—Will Kimbrough, Michael Rinne (Miranda Lambert), and Juan Solorzano—and several of the final vocal tracks were lifted directly from scratch tracks; takes usually thrown away in exchange for a more polished final performance. “I just figured that people are going to either like my singing or they’re not, and splicing and dicing to get the perfect take would probably hurt more than it helped,” VanSant says about their decision. With the end result, even the most discerning ears will be hard-pressed to hear a difference in the soul and execution of VanSant’s singing. 

Circadian was announced last December with the premiere of the first single, “Something Real,” via The Boot; the song came to VanSant at a moment when she was feeling cynical about music and life in general. “I was at Kerrville Folk Festival not long after the death of a beloved songwriter named Jimmy LaFave,” says VanSant, “And although I never met him, I was amazed to feel how much his energy was still moving through the world as people sang his songs around campfires.” The album’s title track, “Circadian,” was inspired by the inability of fireflies to find their mates due to light pollution. 

After working for six years at a peace and social justice lobby group in DC, VanSant left to pursue music; whether in song or in statement, VanSant continues to speak out against social injustice. NPR’s Hidden Brain recently shared her song “Tin Man,” a track inspired by one of their episodes that explored how modern day culture leaves little room for men to express their emotions. She also spoke with Rolling Stone Country last month about the lack of non-binary and POC representation in country, Americana, and roots music coverage.

Written during the Supreme Court hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, “You Can’t Put My Fire Out” is one of the album’s most affecting songs. VanSant wrote the song to reclaim the power of her own narrative as a sexual assault survivor—read more here via her in-depth interview with Audiofemme. Wide Open Country called the track “chilling” and “powerful,” while Baltimore Magazine dubbed it “an anthem for 2020,” adding, “...This holy roller single is a waking moment, and one of reckoning. Known for fusing personal and political, the singer embraces both on this fiery, fearless new track...her robust melody-making is on full display, and her rich vocal command roars to new heights. Letitia arrives ready to take on the world, and show it what she’s made of.” 

Fans will soon be able to hear this compelling group of songs live as VanSant embarks on tour tomorrow, looping around the northeast before heading to California for a run of shows. VanSant will return to the United Kingdom in late April with stops in Scotland, Wales, and England.

Catch Letitia VanSant On Tour:

Feb. 22 – Philadelphia, PA – Philly Folksong Society

Feb. 23 – Brick Township, NJ – Rosie’s Cafe

Feb. 28 – Towson, MD – WTMD Album Release Show

Mar. 4 – Richmond, VA – Hardywood Park Craft Brewery 

Mar. 5 – Barnesville, OH – Albert S. George Youth Center

Mar. 6 – Pittsburgh, PA – Hambones

Mar. 9 – Annapolis, MD – 49 West Coffeehouse, Winebar, & Gallery

Mar. 26 – Redwood City, CA – Redwood City Downtown Library

Mar. 27 – Soquel, CA – The Ugly Mug

Mar. 28 – San Jose, CA – Foothill Community Presbyterian Church 

Mar. 29 – Berkeley, CA – The Back Room Music

Apr. 2 – Washington, DC – City Winery at Wine Garden Stage

Apr. 4 – Rockport, MA – Old Sloop Coffeehouse (supporting Amy Speace)

Apr. 5 – Ewing, NJ – 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing

Apr. 22 – Glasgow, UK – Fallen Angels Club at Glad Cafe

Apr. 23 – Kirkcaldy, UK – Acoustic Music Club

Apr. 26 – Irvine, UK – Harbour Arts Centre

Apr. 28 – Kilbarchan, UK – Kilbarchan Performing Arts Centre

Apr. 29 – Abergavenny, UK – The Art Shop & Chapel

Apr. 30 – Pembroke Dock, UK – Cwtch Coffee

May 1 – Topsham, UK – The Bridge Inn

May 2 – Barton Upon Humber, UK – The Ropewalk

May 3 – High Wycombe, UK – Kingsmead House

May 5 – London, UK – Green Note

Jun. 6 – Montague, MA – The Montague Bookmill

Jun. 7 – Portsmouth, NH – Portsmouth Book & Bar

Jun. 26 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Americana Unplugged Music Series

Jul. 18 – Thomas, WV – Purple Fiddle

Oct. 10 – Saint Joseph, MN – The Local Blend