Georgetown — Lauren Crosby, a local musician and lobsterman’s daughter, brings influences from near and far to her music. With coastal roots and international adventures, Crosby integrates diverse experiences into her new coming-of-age album, “Take Me to the Water,” and prepares for her April 18 album release show at One Longfellow Square in Portland on April 18.

Crosby is a self-taught musician who has been singing and writing music since age 13. She began integrating herself into the local music scene by performing at bars in Bath during open-mic nights after she got her driver’s license at age 16.

Lauren Crosby practices in her Damariscotta apartment (Kelli Park photo)

One of her most memorable early performances was with her then-boyfriend at Robinhood Free Meeting Center in Georgetown, where they opened for local musicians Married with Chitlins. After she and her boyfriend broke up, Crosby had to learn how to play guitar in order to support herself as a musician, at which point “that independent, stubborn, lobsterman’s daughter streak kicked in.”

Growing up in a fishing family on the shores of Georgetown Island, Crosby said she developed a strong work ethic and do-it-yourself attitude that translated well into music.

“Things gotta get done and you just gotta do them yourself. You develop this mentality of just go-go-go [in a fishing family],” she said during a recent interview. “I’m not sitting around worrying about something, I’m just getting something done.”

She released her first self-titled album, folk-inspired music with coastal roots, at age 19, and, at age 21, she produced a live concept album called “Back River Beauties,” an open collaboration of live performances from local people at Georgetown Community Center. She created “Back River Beauties” as an “open love letter” to the fishing community that she considers family.

“It was just basically a night filled with salty people that I love who love Maine,” Crosby said. “All of these people raised me in one way or another. I couldn’t see myself not doing something artistic to give back to the community of Georgetown.”

Inspiration

To say that Crosby’s musical influences are diverse is an understatement. Her childhood was  filled with a wide variety of music, ranging from Irish folk songs and sea shanties to reggae and country.

“In the buoy shed, in the kitchen, on the boat … music was always there,” she said. Crosby has developed a style over the course of her career which allows her to sing with a rock voice, a country voice, a jazz voice or a blues voice; she has drawn comparisons to Jewel, Janis Joplin, Melissa Etheridge and Patty Griffin. Crosby enjoys the diverse nature of any musician who has the ability to be the front of a band, but also succeed as a solo performer. She has, in a sense, channeled this duality into her own identity as a musician.

Combined with this ability is Crosby’s desire for new experiences near and far, which she integrates into her music. After studying education at the University of Maine at Farmington, Crosby lived in Albuquerque, Memphis — where she studied blues and jazz vocals — South Korea, an indigenous village in Alaska, and Thailand, where she was teaching music and English.

She uses her travel experiences to inspire lyrics. As a writer, realizes the importance of channeling observations when depicting the element of emotion. “I can’t stay in one place for too long. I constantly move — one month, two months, three months — fueled by this inspiration of the unknown.”

Crosby’s travels have also allowed her to adopt new facets in her musical style. After living in Thailand for a year, where she spoke a secondary language, Crosby’s technical approach began to change as a result of feeling lost in translation. She was immersed in a society where she couldn’t communicate, forcing her to rely solely on the universal language of musical composition.

Instead of writing lyrics first, as she had always done, Crosby’s focus drifted from the language of lyrics to the melodies.

‘Take Me to the Water’

Although writing about her love of Georgetown and the scenery of Reid State Park has always been easy for Crosby, she said she wanted to push the envelope with her latest endeavor by exploring the meaning of her life experiences and the vulnerability that underlies them. The songs on “Take Me to the Water” are based on Crosby’s recent real life experiences, including “endeavors with handsome men and busses where nobody speaks English and I don’t know where I’m going.”

She has begun to veer away from the salty folk music of her earlier career to create a more developed sound with influences from all over the world and new elements, including an electric guitar.

“This album is a big stepping stone, personally — being able to get my real thoughts and feelings out. Breaking off and growing up. … It’s a different light. It’s a personal thing. It’s real. It’s like a coming of age album; it’s up and down. It’s honest. It’s a really honest album and you can’t be sorry for that. You can’t be sorry for honesty,” Crosby said.

“Take Me to the Water” is a multi-genre album that’s hard to classify.

Crosby recognizes the importance of listening to the entire album in a changing industry where people buy singles instead of albums; she encourages people to listen to the whole album to understand the storyline.

Crosby is supported on the record by her bandmates: Aaron Nedeau, a guitar player who has been accompanying Crosby since she was 17; drummer Ryan Benoit; multi-instrumentalist Justin Maxwell, and several guest musicians. The album includes an eclectic range of styles that range from Willie Nelson-style guitar with a gypsy jazz beat to pop synthesizer and acoustic guitar folk rock.

Next steps

Crosby hopes to play larger venues with a focus on audiences that appreciate lyricism and looks forward to the possibility of signing with a small record label in the future. As an educator, she said she’d like to explore opening a studio to teach teenagers the therapeutic value of songwriting.

For the moment, Crosby is thrilled to share her style and evolution with the audience at One Longfellow Square in Portland. She also performs at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 16, at Chocolate Church Arts Center in Bath.

“You grow up seeing all these musicians who have surpassed you, who you admire, who play these venues,” she said. “This is a big goal that I’ve achieved. I feel so fortunate that I was able to get in (to One Longfellow Square). It really has been a dream.”

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