Laura Cortese's Acoustic Project
featuring Natalie Haas, Brittany Haas and Mariel Vandersteel
“Ambition often follows talent, and Laura Cortese has an embarrassment of both. Her open-armed approach to her art reveals a determination to spread the word about folk music and dance without watering down their distinctiveness.” John Wenzel, Denver Post
Welding the propulsive grace of ancient fiddle styles to disarmingly open-hearted original pop songs, Laura Cortese has emerged among the most intriguing and versatile, musicians in the bountiful New England post-folk scene. At home in any number of traditional styles, her highly-visible work as a supporting musician (on fiddle, vocals, and bass) includes appearances with Uncle Earl, Tao Seeger, Band of Horses, and - as part of Pete Seeger's 90th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden - Patterson Hood and Michael Franti. Laura will be touring to support the release of her Acoustic Project featuring Natalie Haas, Brittany Haas and Mariel Vandersteel this spring.
Vibrant young cellist Natalie Haas is a seasoned performer, recording artist, and teacher. She has joined master Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser for festival and concert appearances in Scotland, Spain, France, and throughout the U.S., including Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland, the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in France, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. "People may be familiar with the gorgeous, melodic cello sound," says Fraser, "but they're surprised to learn that the cello used to comprise the rhythm section in Scottish dance bands. Natalie Haas unleashes textures and deep, powerful rhythms that drive fiddle tunes.
Brittany Haas' repertoire focuses on Appalachian mountain music played on the 5 string fiddle. She is currently a member of the Boston-based alternative bluegrass band, Crooked Still. She graduated from Princeton University in 2009 and was a member of the Princeton University Band. Previously she was a member of Darol Anger's Republic of Strings. Her first CD, Brittany Haas, was released on Ook records in 2004 and includes guest musicians Bruce Molsky, Darol Anger, Todd Sickafoose, Mike Marshall, and her sister, cellist Natalie Haas.
Mariel Vandersteel, a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music, has studied violin in Ireland with a cultural grant, at a folk school in Norway and at fiddle camps across the United States. She also plays Norway's hardingfele and plays with Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers, Laura Cortese, Putnam Smith and is currently working on her solo project.