Roots music enthusiast David Lawrence premieres his debut album this week with his backing band, calling themselves David Lawrence & the Spoonful. With a goal of honing his songwriting and crafting a studio album with no limitations on vision, style, instrumentation or arrangement, Lawrence created the ten-song Lean In that sounds to have far surpassed its goal. Supported by a docket of obscenely talented local musicians, the debut album feels folk, Americana and roots. It is pleasant, easy listening through and through. It’s rich, deep and nourishing, just like how Lawrence describes roots music, and has the versatility to translate to a crowded theater or a lonely bar.
With some serious collaboration and the help of some of the “best musicians in Colorado,” Lawrence said he could allow the songs to organically develop on their own. “I’m Doing Fine” was written in April of 2020 while Lawrence was pandemic-trapped in his Denver apartment, and when he heard the “rich tones of an organ pulsing through the chord changes,” he knew he had to bring on Jon Wirtz and his “masterfully intuitive organ-playing.” He had the same intuition with “Cupcakes & Cigarettes” and a trumpet solo, resulting in the inclusion of Gabe Mervine.
Banshee Tree frontman Thom LaFond was entrusted to bring the album to life as its producer, as well as being Lawrence’s “co-arranger, drummer, vocal coach and therapist.” Coleman Smith is also a vital player in the core band — a “virtuosic violinist,” dear friend and musical soulmate of Lawrence’s who he met serendipitously when Smith was looking for a guitarist and vocalist to play with. Lawrence remembers that time as “one of the most magical musical synergy moments in my career.” Since then he added a drummer, played some of Colorado’s best stages, brought in guest musicians and completed Lean In.
With the support and love of the Colorado music scene, Lean In has been able to live up to its full potential, and Lawrence has been able to bring his complete vision to fruition. “Bands are always helping each other instead of ruthlessly competing,” Lawrence said. “There is a ton of opportunity and it feels like a group effort helping each other out.” While it can be a bit challenging being a local act and standing out amongst the laundry list of touring artists coming through and the almost nightly local shows, Lawrence admits that it’s “all a great problem to have.”
The remainder of 2022 will be busy for Lawrence, who’s already headed back into the studio in addition to welcoming his first child with his wife. Following the completion of Lean In, he wrote a song about “our personal struggles to come full term and the joy of bringing our baby boy into the world.” Now, he’s collaborating with Lizzie Plotkins and Natalie Spears to record that song, set to release next year. His short-term plans are to keep booking special shows with more talented local artists, do more touring in the new year and continue celebrating his masterful debut album.
Listen to David Lawrence & the Spoonful here and don’t miss Lean In, released on October 6.