Gut It to the Studs
VanSant’s national debut Gut It To The Studs opens in tandem with her life as an artist. To get off of the beaten path, though, one must contend with the uncertainties of uncharted territory. “Where I’m Bound” shows the importance of persevering through a “land of broken promises and streets of fool’s gold” with a “map in the stars,” and by following faith.
With this shift, VanSant left behind a nonprofit career. In an effort to feel comfortable in her new skin, she looked at her emerging life and had to “Gut It To The Studs.” She sings, “gotta get the wires a-running right ‘fore the dry wall goes back up." “Taking Back The Reigns” reflects the notion that insecurities will follow you wherever you roam. In order to face your demons and not allow them to swallow up your life, you have to encounter the forces unseen and look them in the eye. If you let fear drive your soul, “then left unchecked it will rule the whole world.” “Dandelion” echoes our generation’s keen interest in building communities that are nourishing and real.
On “The Field,” VanSant likens her inner journey to the labor of farming, as she sings, “I’ll pick up my plough and I’ll pick up my hoe, for the soil is rocky and dry.”
The sole cover on the album, “For What It’s Worth,” stands the test of time as a true protest anthem. VanSant churns out a powerful Americana interpretation inspired by recent protests against police brutality. She comments, “We owe so much to the people who fought for justice in decades past, particularly in the ‘60s when this song was first released. I recorded this song as a reminder to myself that the present moment is just as critically important to our nation’s history.”
The song "Sundown Town" is an account of her reckoning that perceptions of safety reinforce historical patterns of segregation.
Upright bass virtuoso Alex Lacquement (Bumper Jacksons, Charm City Junction) produced the album -- VanSant says, “he has a special talent for taking the emotional content of a song and translating it into a great arrangement.” The songs were co-produced, engineered and mixed by Don Godwin of Tonal Park (Takoma Park, MD), and feature vocals and guitar from David McKindley-Ward, one of VanSant’s long-time collaborators. The album also showcases cameos from some of the region’s greatest musical talents, including Patrick McAvinue (IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year, Dailey & Vincent), Laura Wortman (The Honey Dewdrops), Dan Ryan (Super City), Will McKindley-Ward (Fellow Creatures), Sam McCormally (Fellow Creatures), Dan Samuels (Bumper Jacksons), Nick Sjostrom (Caleb Stine & The Brakemen) and Manny Arciniega--as well as a cameo from Charlie Rose of Elephant Revival.