185 Clingman Ave. Asheville, NC 28801

The Grey Eagle and Worthwhile Sounds Present

Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards

All Ages
Wednesday, November 06
Doors: 7pm // Show: 8pm
$15 to $22


“Everything is so heavy in the world right now,” Cortese says, who’s been living in Belgium the past two years. “When someone comes to our show, listens to this album, or hears one of the songs, I want it to feel like relief and release.” 

So how does one begin to chip away at walls of self-preservation and shame that create social confinement? For Cortese and company, one word came to mind: dancing. “When you dance, you let it all go,” she says. With that in mind, Cortese set off on a personal creative journey like none before — no rules, no restrictions, just the desire to create music that makes you move.

Kassirer helped her sift through her cache of over 40 songs and encouraged her to form songs from her snippets, riffs, and ideas. For the first time, Cortese opened up the songwriting process to The Dance Cards collective. She exchanged ideas and songs with her bandmates remotely, and then enticed a few with the promise of Belgian delicacies to cross the ocean and flesh out arrangements. From recordings of the players beating on all sides of their instruments, Kassirer fashioned loops and created bass lines with members of the band. Lyrics were honed through group examination, with the goal of framing each story in the most impactful way possible to inspire empathy in the listener. The work was quick, but it was deep. 

When it came time to record, the band and Kassirer joined forces with  percussionist and engineer D. James Goodwin; together they completely dismantled the idea of how a string band “should” sound. 

Cortese explains that the song that inspired the album title, “Treat You Better,” is about the complexities of long-term love, obligation and healthy versus unhealthy dynamics. “I started writing this a few years after I got divorced and was pretty disillusioned about finding a partner. I was asking some older friends — couples that from the outside seemed to have healthy and lovely long-term relationships — questions about their relationships. I found this coincidental link between many of the couples. The morning person gets up and makes the other one coffee and brings it to them in bed. Ultimately the song is about examining personal barriers to treating your partner better—how critical and cynical we get, juxtaposed against images of your partner doing nice things for you.” 

“Where the Fox Hides” is a response to how isolated many people are in our modern, digital world and the loneliness it engenders.  

“Belgium, my new home, is #1 for suicide in Western Europe. They keep a lot of distance socially,” she says. “People meet up with friends in bars instead of their homes. It takes a long time to make real friendships. Trying to integrate gave me new perspective on what it feels like to be an outsider”.