Published on February 26th, 2020 | by Guest Editor0
Letitia VanSant Releases Sophomore Album “Circadian”
Letitia VanSant Releases Sophomore Album Circadian
Album Receives Critical Acclaim from Paste, No Depression,
American Songwriter, and More
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.
“Her gentle singsong may strike you as sweet, but listen a little closer, and you’ll realize she’s spitting fire. Her voice is charismatic and fierce, and
she doesn’t need anyone else’s help.”
– Paste Magazine via “10 Country Artists to Watch in 2020”
“…Letitia VanSant finds balance between righteous anger and radical empathy. Each song on the record stands out in its own way. Ultimately, Circadian is a record extolling the need for honesty, empathy, and a call to
change society’s most destructive urges.”
– No Depression
“Delicately and attentively crafted, each song feels like an extension of the crystalline, indie folk-fueled leaf that she turns with her new album. The songs possess a vividness and might that begets artists of her caliber, and they astonish with their forward-moving, straight-shooting direction…
Circadian is a contemplative indie folk opus.”
“Her lyrics weave the personal and political into highly relatable songs that seem designed to strike an emotional chord while tapping into the zeitgeist…VanSant’s voice is characterized by an earnest and gentle timbre that almost pleads with the listener to forge a connection.”
– American Songwriter
“…a bold sound driven with authenticity and a sense of purpose. VanSant’s luminous voice mirrors the rich, emotional quotient of her themes, breathing life into songs that balance contemplative compassion with a righteous fury.”
– Substream Magazine
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
More About Letitia VanSant:
VanSant’s debut album Gut It to the Studs established her as an emerging talent on the Americana scene and propelled her onto her first UK/European tour, where she was met with enthusiasm by audiences and critics alike. PopMatters defined her as “…a consummate reflection of a rising Americana star” and BBC Radio calls her “a fascinating new artist.” Among her additional accolades, she was named a winner of the Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competition, an honor previously presented to a multitude of musicians including Robert Earl Keen, Anaïs Mitchell, Gordy Quist (Band of Heathens), Darden Smith, Hal Ketchum, James McMurtry, and Caroline Spence. VanSant’s new full-length album Circadian is out February 21, 2020.