Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Letitia Vansant

I didn't feel like sharing so I never did a fifth post last week.  I can't believe South Carolina ignored reality and truth and voted for Joe Biden.

I'm not in the mood for any of that garbage tonight.

What I will share is that if you're looking for a new album to listen to, check out Letitia Vansant's CIRCADIAN.  I got it Sunday and I'm really enjoying it. 

Letitia Vansant is a singer-songwriter and CIRCADIAN is her second studio album.

That's "You Can't Put My Fire Out" which is the first track on the album and if that song doesn't make you want to download the album, check out "Tin Man."

This is from the "about" page on her website:

Letitia VanSant’s lyrics are as personal as they are political, tracing questions of power into the human heart. With sparse indie folk arrangements fortifying a distinctly intimate vocal style, her down-to-earth stage presence has been described as vibrant and approachable.

Paste Magazine named her among 10 Artists to Watch in 2020, BBC Radio says she is “a fascinating new artist,” and PopMatters called her “a consummate reflection of a rising Americana star.” Her songwriting has earned several awards, including the Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Competition. VanSant’s debut album Gut It to the Studs established her as an emerging talent on the Americana scene and propelled her on her first UK/European tour. Its follow-up Circadian was released February 21, 2020.

Circadian Album write-up

Circadian rhythms are the natural cycles occurring within a period of wakefulness and sleep, of light and darkness. Across the nine-song spectrum of Circadian, the newest full-length collection by singer-songwriter Letitia VanSant, her luminous voice mirrors the rich emotional quotient of her themes, breathing life into songs that balance contemplative compassion with righteous fury.  
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.  
“My last album introduced me to the world of songwriters. I gained a greater respect for the craft, but more importantly I learned a reverence for the creative force that moves through art. I stopped trying to ‘steer’ and rather tried to do greater justice to the songs that force their way out of me.” 
With a few such compositions in hand, VanSant approached Nashville-based producer Neilson Hubbard (Mary Gauthier, Caroline Spence), whose production work struck her as lush, inviting soundscapes that never lose their intimate, down-to-earth nature and rock-solid grooves. 
“I fussed a lot about making my last recordings painstakingly perfect, but this time I just wanted the songs to speak for themselves. My motto for this recording process was ‘if the groove is good, you can’t go wrong.’”  
This approach was a perfect fit for Hubbard, who encourages his artists to trust their first instincts. He assembled an all-star cast of session players including Will Kimbrough, Michael Rinne (Miranda Lambert), and Juan Solorzano. Hubbard sat in on drums. They holed up with engineer Dylan Alldredge at Skinny Elephant, the studio that Hubbard created out of an old garage. Harmony vocals were later added by her friends Mia Rose Lynn and long-time collaborator David McKindley-Ward.  
She went in with the intention of recording a 2-song EP, but the chemistry with the musicians was so immediate that she came out at the end of the week with a 9-song album. Many of the songs were recorded live with just 2 or 3 takes. Several of the vocals were lifted from scratch tracks--a bold move, as VanSant’s voice is what often first pulls people in. “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.” 
The result is an album that feels as natural as it is compelling and beautiful. “Every song is a small, glittering jewel” said Thorben Bull of the Kieler Nachrichten during her recent European tour, “A taste that melts on the tongue like liquid caramel.” 
The set kicks off with the incendiary “You Can’t Put My Fire Out.” “I am a survivor of sexual violence from years ago. It impacted my self-esteem and what I felt like I was capable of in the world. I felt a lot smaller. This song came out of reclaiming my narrative and sense of self worth,” she explains.  
It’s no mistake that she follows up with “Tin Man,” a subtle character study that explores how our culture’s stoic notions of masculinity leave many men emotionally isolated, particularly as they age.  She wrote it after hearing the podcast “The Lonely American Man” by NPR’s The Hidden Brain. “It rang so true that I had to pull over my car because I was crying so hard. Our culture makes it very difficult for men to be emotionally vulnerable, and that in turn makes it hard for them to connect with others. I don’t know what it’s like to be a man, but I know what it is to be a person who loves one and wants to connect.”” 
The sadness of growing older is a thread that runs throughout the record. “Most of Our Dreams Don’t Come True” conveys the disappointment that she and many of her friends were experiencing as pregnancies became miscarriages, acting careers fizzled, and things just didn’t work out the way they’d all hoped. “My generation has gotten so much messaging to reach for the stars and keep trying at all costs. But I think that notion can be taken to a desperate, unhealthy extremes that can leave people profoundly unhappy. There’s a time to let things shift, let things go. Allowing ourselves to grieve old dreams can make space to discover new ones.”
The title track “Circadian” was inspired by an article about light pollution; how fireflies are having trouble finding mates, and migrating birds can’t find their way. “The solution is to turn out some of the lights,” she says. “The challenges of the world feel big and complicated, but I take solace in the idea that some of the answers are to make things simpler.” 
“Something Real” was inspired by an experience at Kerrville Folk Festival, where many were mourning the recent death of Jimmy LaFave. “ I never met him, but hearing people sing his songs around the campfire, it was clear that his energy was still moving through the world. I had this moment when my clouds of cynicism parted, and I was overcome with awe.”  
The collection concludes with the cataclysmic “Rising Tide,” based on Letitia’s father’s experience as a Vietnam veteran with cancer caused by exposure to Agent Orange. “They’ve got plans for our pockets, cigarettes for our lungs/Poison for our babies and bullets for our guns.” She recorded the song several years ago with an old band called the Bonafides, and it was a hit on the local radio station 89.7 WTMD where listeners voted it among the top 10 songs of the year. Her dad has since recovered, but Hubbard’s production has given the song a second wind that is both harrowing and timely.  
The ambition of these themes comes as no surprise to those who know her personally, as VanSant is deeply spiritual, and social justice has been a touchstone of her life. After spending six years at a progressive lobby group in Washington, DC, she made the jump to a career in music, but remains engaged in local activism in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. 
While political and philosophical motifs are present on Circadian, strident proclamations are not. “I’m challenged,” Letitia confirms. “I’ve written lots of songs about social justice, but I don’t end up sharing the vast majority them because they just don’t feel right for one reason or another. I don’t want to write preachy songs when I have so much to learn and improve upon as a person, and in many ways I occupy a position of privilege. What I have to share is my failures, my questions, and my journey of trying to do better.” 
Circadian bears the mark of an artist who has honed her skills to sculpt brave songs of impressive accuracy, vitality, and relevance. As a songwriter, Letitia VanSant utilizes exacting imagery as she details a crawlspace under the stairs; stubborn roots of English ivy vines; boxed wine and stories over candle-lit card games. “I have a lot of respect for classic country songwriters who have a point that’s really focused,” she explains. “They dig deep down and express it with just a few words. I aspire to be understood from the song itself. It’s a miracle that we’re on this planet and alive, and can vibrate the world with music. I want to share these moments of gratitude.”


  • 2020 Best Vocal Performance in Baltimore Alternative Music Awards for “You Can’t Put My Fire Out”
  • 2019 Baker Artist Awards Finalist
  • 2019 USA Songwriting Competition Finalist
  • 2019 Nominee for Best Vocal Performance in the WTMD Alternative Music Awards
  • 2018 Baltimore Magazine 50 Artists You Need to Know
  • 2017 Kerrville New Folk Winner
  • 2017 Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
  • 2017 Rocky Mountain Folks Fest 1st Alternate
  • 2017 One of Baltimore' Sun's "30 Songs that Defined 2017"
  • 2016 Winner of the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest (Folk)
  • Culture Trip Top 8 Up-and-Coming DC Musicians to follow
  • Listeners of 89.7 WTMD voted "Rising Tide" among the top 10 songs of the year

Other projects

Rusty Sal - a classic country/ honky tonk band featuring guitar player Lucas Chohany and upright bassist Alex Lacquement.
Laura & Letitia Duo - a project with Laura Wortman of the Honey Dewdrops.
Patreon page - posts of new songs 2-4 times each month.


Letitia is pronounced "Leh-TISH-ah" - "tish" rhymes with "wish."  Letitia is an old family name that she shares with a number of women in her family. As a child she was nicknamed “Sandy” from VanSant, her middle name. Her friends still call her Sandy, but she responds to both!

She's got real talent.  I love this album.  The only thing that would make me love CIRCADIAN more would be having it on vinyl.  I've looked at the store at her website and on AMAZON.  Looks like currently, it's just available as a download (how I got it Sunday) or a CD.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Monday, March 2 ,2020.  Two depart the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and a prime minister-designate in Iraq announces he's out.

And then there were . . . how many?  As the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues, it continues with two less candidates.  Saturday, Tom Steyer dropped out after coming in third in the South Carolina primary.  Yesterday, Pete Buttigieg dropped out.

Though Tom ran a campaign on issues, you'd never know it to watch the laments that followed.  With regards to Tom, immediately various 'leaders' spoke up to inform the country how Tom could now best use his own money. Pete ran a campaign devoted to assisting the corporations.  The post-Pete drivel was all about how he'd proven so much and he'd inspired so many and this was the first in a long line of campaigns to come.

Really?  Well let's hope in future campaigns that he does better than 8.2% of the voters.

It goes without saying that it was the Neera crowd lamenting Pete.  The White-White crowd.  Realizing how far she'd gone, one White former actress felt the need to Tweet a photo of one of her adopted children.  No word on whether, like last time, she Googled her name and "black child" to find the photo this time.

Some tried to insist that Pete would make a great Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  This group wasn't a group of veterans or a group representing veterans.  As we noted here throughout his campaign, Pete didn't register with veterans.  That's because he never spoke of veterans issues.  Also, it's because he's really not a veteran.  He's a cut-in-line guy who avoided the boot camps and other requirements by who he knew.  He wanted a title and, when he could be given one, he signed up.  Real veterans don't tend to respect the Toy Soldiers.

Pete hurt his case further by never knowing what a veterans issue was.  US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard and US House Rep Seth Moulton both had the respect of their fellow veterans.  Whether that would translate into votes or not, other veterans did look at the two and know that they were fighting for all veterans.  And Tulsi and Seth actually saw combat.

All Pete had was the laughable 'Vote Vets' -- a hideous and partisan front group that might be in trouble with the FEC.  No candidate had less experience than Pete.  But Steve Bullock dropped out without getting the easy praise.  Kamala Harris was not treated like a hero when she dropped out.  He never happened but the press is still trying to make him happen.

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday.  NPR provides a run down of what that means.  The following Tweet goes to what it means for most Americans.

This single 45-second video explains the difference between and . In a 5-day period, Republicans tried to cut Social Security. You’ll see which side Bernie and Joe were on. Take 45 second to watch it — and retweet.

In Iraq, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi will no longer attempt to become prime minister.   Ghassan Adnan and Isabel Coles (WALL STREET JOURNAL) report, "Iraq’s prime minister-designate withdrew his candidacy for the position on Sunday, saying he faced obstruction from some political factions over reforms, deepening political turmoil in the country as it faces a growing coronavirus challenge."

: Iraqi Prime Minister designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi announces his withdrawal after failing to secure parliamentary support for his cabinet selection.

Abbas Kadhim offers this take.

Prime Minister Candidate Mohammad Tawfik Allawi withdrew his nomination after the passing of his constitutional 30-day deadline to secure a CoR vote of confidence. (1)
  • Mr. Allawi blamed the “corrupt partisan politicians” for his inability to form a government. That is true in part. But, on the other hand, he submitted a partial cabinet whose members are completely unsatisfactory. (2)
  • Some of Mr. Allawi’s proposed ministers are accused of acts which, if true, should disqualify them from office and call his judgment into question. Others are too old and/or not in touch with for a long time. (3)
  • Mr. Allawi made several mistakes, other than the bad selection. He accused MPs of conspiring to bring him down, calling those who didn’t support him corrupt & essentially dishonorable. (4)
    This development will bring ’s President Dr. back to the drawing board to nominate another candidate in the next 15 days, as PM ’s govt. continues its caretaker role for up to 45 days, or more if no new PM is confirmed. (5)

    THE DAILY SABAH notes:

    Allawi's withdrawal a month after having been selected plunges the country into further uncertainty at a critical time, as the country weathers troubled times, including ongoing anti-government protests and the constant threat of being ensnared by festering U.S.-Iranian tension. Allawi's departure leaves President Barham Saleh with 15 days to propose a new candidate, whom he could name unilaterally without consulting parliament. According to political sources, the president intends to propose intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kazimi.

    This is not the first time that it's been rumored Saleh will back al-Kazimi.  Back in December, AFP reported Saleh was considering al-Kazimi "who is seen to have US backing."

    And the protests continue.

    Teachers in march in protests to underscore the peacefulness of the revolution, a day after announced withdrawing his candidacy for prime minister amid public rejection |

    protesters in Al-Tahrir square, , chant "the people want the fall of the regime" after withdrew his candidacy for prime minister | Telegram Channel: