Audra Mae is a natural. Once the Oklahoma native opens her mouth and lets loose with that voice, pure and strong, with a hint of country twang and a twinkle of good humor, you realize this is what she’s meant to do; Stand in front of an audience and entertain, not just with her singing, but a distinctive songwriting voice, one that’s capable of relating fully developed characters and stories. Signed to L.A.-based label SideOneDummy, known more for punk-rock groups like Flogging Molly, Gaslight Anthem and Gogol Bordello than folkie singer-songwriters, Audra Mae is not as out of place as it would seem. After five years working her way through the local L.A. club scene, leading to a music publishing deal with Warner/Chappell and a loyal following, Audra found exactly what she was looking for in the fiercely independent record company. “I just waited for someone that wasn’t going to try to change me,” she says in a lilting southwestern twang. “And this label was just, ‘Go for it… We love you.’ It’s ironic because they’re so used to dealing with artists who are committed to doing things their own way. My music touches on a great many different genres and I needed time to realize I’m all of those things. Several companies wanted me to be just one part of myself, and not the others. In fact, a few of the acts on SideOneDummy that started out punk are now getting into the acoustic thing, like [Hot Water Music’s] Chuck Ragan, who I’m going to be touring with this fall. It seems like they’re moving in that direction, so it’s a good time for us to get together.” SideOne Dummy’s Bill Armstrong and Joe Sib added, “We walked into a club in Los Angeles and saw Audra tear the roof of the place and heard a once in a generation voice. We thought this isn’t punk rock in sound but it is in attitude. Shortly after that we got together with Audra and asked her if she would be interested in working together. She came over to SideOne hung out for a bit and it felt like a good fit. We couldnt be more excited to be a part of Audras story.” Audra is currently working on her debut album with producer Ted Hutt (Flogging Molly, Gaslight Anthem, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones), which will be a stripped-down acoustic affair, spotlighting that voice and her songs. One of the first completed is “Sullivan’s Letter,” based on a note written by a Civil War soldier fighting in the first battle of Bull Run to his wife. She discovered it on the back of a piece of music she was given by her father.
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