Artists: The Laws (John and Michelle Law)
Release: Estimated Time Of Revival
Connection: John Law was born in Chatham Ontario.
John Law – vocals, guitar, mandolin
Michele Law – vocals, bass
Note: The Laws first CD, Estimated Time of Revival is a stripped down acoustic collection of original songs. ETR was on the top rotation with the Galaxie satellite network and djs across the country.
1 Hobo Trail
2 Estimated Time Of Revival
3 Waiting Out The Storm
4 Willow And The Dove
5 Trail Of Diamonds
6 Stayin’ Up Late
7 Stone, Glass & Wood
8 One Track Mind
9 Believe Our Love
10 Dust Off Our Dreams
For his part, Chatham, Ontario-born John had a lifelong interest in music, but his exposure to it as a child was limited. His father had a Roger Miller greatest hits album, and a Johnny Cash album, and that was all. But John learned every nuance of both records, and he became infatuated with the guitar after being inspired by his sixth grade teacher, who often entertained the class with Bob Dylan tunes played on “a big ol’ electric Gretsch guitar,” according to John. “That did it for me; that hooked me. I just wanted to play guitar after that.”
John honed his instrumental skills over the next few years, a turning point coming when he was injured in a motorcycle accident at age 16. “That’s when I really got into guitar and started putting bands together because I couldn’t do much else. I just played in rock ‘n’ roll bands, ’70s rock ‘n’ roll style stuff. Neil Young was a big influence and I always played harmonica and guitar at parties, with friends. But the band was mostly rock ‘n’ roll.” Songwriting, he adds, was an afterthought: “There’s a couple of guys who did write original stuff, but I was always the guitar player or thinking of a bridge or something, a new direction–not really getting credit for writing bridges, but I didn’t know you could! I was always the guitar picker to put on a little sweetener to their songs. That was about it.”
John then moved to Toronto to play the street and eventually put together a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young cover band that toured throughout Canada for seven years. During that time he was also getting into American roots music through recordings by Doc Watson and Tony Rice, among others.
When John and Michele got together they moved across Canada to British Columbia where John started playing guitar and mandolin with roots country songwriter, Joe Charron.
“John and I decided together that music was such a big part of his life that I wanted to be part of that too,” Michele explains. “We had a five-year plan, and he taught me to play guitar, how to play bass–we’d have friends over to jam and it was all guitar players. So I said, ‘Maybe you should teach me how to play bass.’ Then I found out that I’m the third chick bass player in my family. Isn’t that freaky?”
On the side, for kicks, he and Michele and a couple of their musician friends put together a casual bluegrass ensemble known as One Track Mind and cut a homemade CD, Beyond the Kitchen Table. More to the point, he had taught Michele the fundamentals of the bass, and a plan began to take shape.
Michele had barely begun to learn her instrument when she filled in onstage for the Joe Charron Band’s absent bassist, at which point she also began providing harmony vocals. It was a trial by fire, but Michele proved to be a real trouper. “I got pushed into it,” she says, “but John plays at such a high level that I had to really step up to the plate.”
“We had some great opportunities in British Columbia while we were there,” Michele notes. “With this trio we were opening for some great acts, and people just kept encouraging the two of us to do our own writing. We had something special on stage. We didn’t know; we were both shy and having fun working with someone else as the front man. But we certainly listened. One day we got up and wrote two songs and just kind of got the bug. And the first time you do your own music on stage and people actually clap and like it, you realize, Yeah, this isn’t bad at all. This could be fun.”
John and Michele continued to write and began performing as a duo throughout British Columbia. Their recording career began with their debut, Estimated Time of Revival, recorded at Randy Bachman’s studio, in 2000.
Husband and wife singer songwriters, The Laws, exploded onto the Canadian music scene in 2000 with the release of their first independent CD, Estimated Time of Revival, recorded at Randy Bachman’s Salt Spring Island, British Columbia studio. They were featured in major newspapers across the country (Calgary Herald, National Post, Ottawa Citizen) in support of their first cross-Canada tour. It was during this first ‘cross Canada tour that they were spotted by an Australia booking agent who booked them on the spot! They’ve since completed 3 highly successful tours in that country, including main stage at National, Tamworth, Port Fairy and Fairbridge Folk Festivals and appearances on Australia national television.
John and Michele were invited to play all of the prominent festivals in Canada (Edmonton, Winnipeg, StanFest) and toured extensively through their home country, including a 17-date Ontario theatre tour opening for Randy Bachman’s “Every Song Tells a Story” tour (supporting their 2nd CD, Two, also recorded at Randy’s studio). The Laws first foray into the United States in 2003 took them to the South West Folk Alliance Conference in Austin, TX, where they were immediately booked by every presenter in attendance! In Texas they went from opening act to headline attraction in 2 short years and were invited to perform main stage at Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse, the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival 2004, 2005 and 2007 and Wild Flower Festival in Dallas in 2005 and 2007.
In 2007 The Laws were the first Canadians to win the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest in North Carolina, with their song, Am I Still the One. Noted Nashville music critic and Nashville Star judge, Robert Oermann, had this to say about The Laws in Music Row Magazine: “Am I Still the One is a languid, swaying, romantic melody that recalls The Everly Brothers in their prime. Yes, the harmonies really are that good.”
John and Michele have received further recognition for their songwriting and are now writing for Nashville-based publishing company, SWITR, Inc. The owners of the company were so impressed by their songs that they signed them on the spot and have included them as “Rising Stars” in their new PBS series “Legends and Lyrics”, alongside such songwriting greats as Kris Kristofferson, John Hiatt, Patty Griffin and Jimmy Webb!
Great picking and harmony singing, beautifully crafted and presented lyrics, heartbreaking stories of love and loss, John & Michele’s songs cross the boundaries of country, folk, pop, bluegrass and blues and are at home performing at folk, country or bluegrass venues. Their CDs have been on high rotation throughout North America on folk and Americana stations and they’ve been in the top 10 on playlists around the world!
While it can be tough to be a traveling musician, The Laws have found a recipe for success that keeps them healthy and happy. They do their own cooking when they’re on tour, and have developed their favorite recipes into a cookbook which has, in turn, led to bookings at major food and wine events, TV appearances and feature articles for their special mix of food and music.
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