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August 24 /3:30 pm 6:30 pm
She’s not exactly a jazz diva, nor a straight blues artist, nor just a pop or country singer. She’s a bit of all these, but Laura prefers to think of herself as a singer of ‘old songs.’ That term perfectly describes the eclectic repertoire of standards, blues and western swing that she delivers with such passion and style.
Her affinity for this music developed over a lifetime of listening. Growing up in Toronto, Laura performed Gilbert and Sullivan operettas in high school while listening to Billie Holiday, Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton at home. At the University of Toronto, where she studied psychology and sociology, Laura fell hard for theatre, acting and singing in numerous productions. That’s where she also began experimenting with the jazz repertoire, working up some standards with a young piano player named Peter Hill.
But there was a theatre career to pursue, and more musical directions to explore, before Laura would return to jazz. Most famously, she became the co-founder and lead vocalist of the Leslie Spit Treeo, the indie-rock outfit that went from busking on Toronto’s Queen Street to an international record deal, a Juno award and several national tours. By the time the Treeo disbanded in the mid-’90s, it had earned a large and devoted following, as well as a permanent spot in the pantheon of this country’s more original rock acts.
With Laura’s vocal chops ready for a fresh challenge, the call of the ‘old songs’ was too enticing for her to resist. She reconnected with Peter Hill, and The Laura Hubert Band was born. Backed by Peter’s solid, swinging piano and his rich horn arrangements, Laura is revelling in the opportunity to reinterpret classics by some of the singers she most admires, from the classic blues of Bessie Smith to the full-throated ballads of Dinah Washington. Laura and Peter now perform regularly in Toronto clubs, in combos ranging from a duo to an eight-piece band. And those old songs have never sounded better.