Roots & Wings
Rural Morning View, KY is the place Lauren Houston has called home her entire life, currently living next door to the family farm she grew up on. Lauren's parents, Dan, a full-time brick mason and part-time farmer, and Debby, a nurse, raised her on what she calls "the good stuff" ranging from the likes of Neil Young, Tom Petty, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor & the Rolling Stones. Over the years, Lauren fell in love with her own favorites... Jewel, Norah Jones, Hank Williams, Robinella, Over the Rhine, Ray LaMontagne and Patty Griffin, to name a few. Early on, Lauren realized her love for singing. By the age of 5, she was part of her church children's choir. She took piano lessons in elementary school for less than a year and notes, "I was just a kid and very frustrated that I could not read music and only played by ear. It took many years to really hone in on what I wanted to do musically, but after falling in love with Jewel sophomore year, I knew guitar was the next step for me." Throughout her school years Lauren was part of the choir though it was not until after high school that she passionately pursued her life long dream of making music. In October of 2001, Lauren purchased her first guitar. She was attending college and practiced during her free time, teaching herself basic chords and rhythm. She learned her favorite cover songs and played mostly around camp fires with family and friends. In 2005, Bill Westerman, a dear friend and mentor of Lauren's, convinced her to join his new music project. Lauren liked the idea of collaboration and started practicing with the group that would eventually be named Mr. Dub & the To Be's. The trio included Lauren on guitar and vocals, Jessica Miller on guitar and vocals and Bill Westerman (also known as "Mr. Dub") on drums and percussion. The group played popular cover songs along with a few tunes penned by Bill in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area in 2005 and 2006. "I started out playing cover songs because I was comfortable with them. It is easy to replicate but not as easy to create," Lauren recollects, "and then one day, I had a melody stuck in my head. I sat down and after about 20 minutes, I had written my first song!" By mid-2006 the songs began to flow and Lauren branched out from the band to pursue her solo career. As most 20-somethings do, Lauren was determined to embrace individuality and find herself. She quickly realized her greatest gift was giving back through music. "We are all walking down different paths. It is neat to write a song about a certain subject and then have a listener tell you they related to it in a completely different way." Lauren says "Writing has become the most amazing release for me. I carry a note book with me everywhere - you never know when lyrics or a song idea will come about. No matter what happens in life, positive or negative, if I can write a song about it, it has been a success." Lauren's multi-genre blend naturally comes through in her Americana song writing style. Lauren's song subjects are personal, deep and thought provoking. Her sound is an expressive, eloquent portrayal of life through music. She feels her broad personal interest in music has helped her create a mix of folk, country, bluegrass, pop, blues and soul. Lauren says "I never wanted to be nailed down to one specific genre. I like the fact that I am all across the board." In September 2008, Lauren placed second in the Flatrock Music Festival's Emerging Songwriters Contest with her song, Mason's Daugther, in Flatrock, NC. You can find Lauren playing shows throughout the state of KY and regionally in Tennessee, Ohio and North Carolina.