About This Event
Lauren Ruth Ward – Farewell Show with Kingsbury, Alicia Blue
Lauren Ruth Ward
Rock nʼ Roll is dead… correct? If not, most would agree Hospice is paying it daily visits, easing its transition into the hereafter where a winged Jimmi, Janis and other Jim wait to air their grievances as to why Rock nʼ Roll hasnʼt held up its end of the deal. Rock nʼ Roll may respond,
“My old friends, while you may have given your lives-
“SOULS!” They unanimously interject.
“-souls for me, how would you expect a spirit as hungover as mine to compete with advancements such as Ableton and Social Media strategies?”
The three angels stare quizzically. They look to the younger confidant for clarification. Thus far, heʼs been too apathetic to welcome the recently departed.
Rock nʼ Roll clears its throat, “Well, pleasure to see you, too, KURT. Feels like just yesterday-“
Kurt flaps a wing dismissively and continues flicking cigarette butts at the giant projector screen showing one of the 72 documentaries produced by Dave Grohl in which Dave Grohl narrates the career of Dave Grohl.
“Is this heaven or hell?” Rock nʼ Roll asks.
“How could you die on us, man?” asks Janis.
“Now where will poetry take flight?” begs Jim.
“You work for us, not the other way around!” says Jimmi, instantly diffident of the declaration.
Rock nʼ Roll throws its hands in the air. “So many memes, so little time.”
“Gibberish.” Janis shouts. “Is there any hope at all?”
Rock nʼ Roll holds up one finger and wiggles its hand to clear a window back into the living… Rock nʼ Roll points… “Her.”
Cue Lauren Ruth Ward.
As she explodes onto the stage in front of you, a few things happen. First, her voice cuts through everything in the room, including whatever baggage you carried in from the day, and grabs you from the inside out. Your defenses are dropping and youʼre tickled by your own unrecognizable vulnerability. The thing is, youʼve never seen someone sing from every cell in their body and it changes your own chemistry for a moment. And before she gets to the first damn chorus, youʼre dumbstruck with epiphany…
“If she can galvanize every atom of her apparatus to be bigger than her body, even if for one note, why canʼt I?”
And just like that, you are empowered. And whatʼs better, you never expected it would feel this fun.
Lauren Ruth Ward could hide behind a guitar or a piano and whisper her clever, personal lyrics and it would devastate audiences. Thankfully, for our enjoyment, she is instead a tie-dye bomb of energy and emotion. Sheʼll grab your face and scream away your sweaty assumptions and then fall to your knees and beg for the mercy that is owed to any female for simply existing as a woman. And when you find yourself down on your knees repenting, sheʼll grab you by your choker necklace with her banshee, vibrato howl and pull you back off the ground again.
Just like that, seeing anyone else sing will never be quite the same.
So despite your better judgement (and the insider info from a friend that mentioned before the show that she is in fact a Scorpio) youʼve fallen head over heels as a brother, sister, lover and a friend and sheʼs only starting the second song. Hell, you havenʼt even decided if youʼll have the gall to introduce yourself at the merch table. But LRW, the ‘Queen of Echo Parkʼ (according to LA folk powerhouse Alicia Blueʼs new song) will welcome you, disarm you and furthermore, as the most supportive musician in the whole East LA community, she will probably be at your next show.
Purpose is a lofty proposition these days, with everyone doing and being everything. But there is something oddly comforting when we see that someone was put on Earth to do something. The gods and the angels of Rock nʼ Roll alike are thanking the heavens or whatever else it is theyʼve grown accustomed to for Lauren Ruth Ward. And hey, if the chimera in one fanboyʼs testimony is too much, thereʼs throngs of fans from Echo Park to Italy that will gladly give you theirs. Just get used to the whole ‘wild obsession thingʼ. It comes hand and hand with humans that have seen LRW sing.
Alicia Blue (pronounced: Alee-see-yuh) began her creative pursuits with a deep emersion into poetry that spanned her earliest years and filled her days with words, art and stories. While in college at Cal State Northridge her life in music began when she collided with a wheelchair-bound, aging soul singer named Malcolm Clark Hayes, Jr. forty years her senior. A former Liberty Records artist, Malcolm had toured with Little Richard and an early Jimi Hendrix as part of Richard’s band. Initially, Alicia had come to care for him to earn extra money, but ended up sleeping on his floor several days a week for two years just to gather musical knowledge from him; or as she puts it, “to learn everything Malcolm knew.” During this time, Alicia began her first foray into setting her poems to song, while she could barely yet even play an instrument. After hearing her sing for the very first time, Malcolm asked, “What makes you so sad?” a question that both set her name and style, and soon Alicia became Alicia Blue.
The first order of business was learning the basics of music and Malcolm convinced Alicia to take at least one music class. But showing up to class took a backseat after a chance meeting at a restaurant in Thai Town just below the East Hollywood apartment. During their dinner, Alicia was struck by a Thai woman finger-picking an acoustic guitar, blowing through songs the likes of James Taylor, Carole King and Joni Mitchell. Malcolm insisted that Alicia speak with her after her set, and to her surprise, the woman hardly spoke English, despite singing those songs in near perfect English…but the musical connection was made. Nong and Alicia spent every weekend together for the next year playing music, finding Alicia the perfect guitar, and teaching her everything she knew about playing the instrument. Between Nong’s guitar and Malcolm’s vocal instructions, Alicia’s style began to take form. Malcolm introduced her to soul music, but it wasn’t until Alicia discovered “Blue” by Joni Mitchell that the heart of her artistry began to emerge. Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Neil Young would prove to be just as important and influential as her songwriting style began to coalesce into something more singular.
Following Alicia’s first open mic as a newfound musician and performer, Malcolm’s health began to deteriorate quickly, as though he’d remained healthy just long enough to see her begin to take flight on this next phase of her life. One of his last wishes had been to see Alicia pursue her dreams as a singer-songwriter and it seems he felt he’d succeeded. Malcolm died in August 2015, leaving Alicia with a book full of life’s poetry and a burning desire to reach people with her music. In 2019 Alicia Blue independently released her first EP, which included her earliest songs, and was near-immediately contacted by Starbucks to have her song “Magma” featured in stores worldwide via their Starbucks Acoustic playlist on Spotify. Garnering immediate attention as a songwriter and singer, Alicia quickly became a pivotal figure on the LA songwriting circuit and drew attention from various labels, managers and media outlets. She’s been featured in publications like Billboard and Atwood Magazine, as well as LA’s legendary KCRW. She’s opened for artists like BØRNS and sang alongside Bill Withers at a tribute to the legend.
Alicia Blue’s first full-length album, Bravebird, was released April 2020 (yes, in the middle of a global pandemic!), securing spots on Spotify’s influential Fresh Finds Pop and Fresh Finds Rock playlists and garnering a whole new round of buzz and attention. Armed now with new management, a band of top players, an extended support team, plans to tour in 2021 (as the world opens again), and two new singles and videos ready for release, Alicia Blue is headed back to the studio with a slew of new songs and eyes wide open looking toward the next chapter.