By Dylan White
Singer, musician and actress Amy LaVere is going places after last year’s release of her critically acclaimed “Stranger Me” album, which has received national airplay and led to performances on NPR and BBC.
But though she’s lived all over the country and toured the world, she’s called Cooper-Young her true home since 1999.
LaVere calls herself “restless,” and her history and lifestyle have satisfied her need for a nomadic existence. Growing up, the Shreveport, La. native moved several times as a self-described “General Motors brat,” when her family accepted jobs in different locations.
“I really like coming and going, I’m very adaptable and I love meeting new people.”
The music business took her to Nashville, but LaVere said she was drawn to the music scene in Memphis.
“While I was in Nashville there were a handful of shows in Memphis that gave me cause to first come down and I really liked it and eventually just decided that it suited me better. The music community here is totally different from Nashville. When I lived there it was hard to find a sense of community as far as the musicians went, so when I came here it was great to meet people who just wanted to play with you, it was so refreshing.”
She feels particularly at home on New York Street in Cooper-Young.
“I really like being able to walk around the neighborhood, I like the people,” she said. “I’ve been walking my dog here for 10 years and it seems like every time I do I see a new house that I had never seen before. I love the architecture of the bungalows.”
She’s quick to name her favorite restaurant in the area:
“Tsunami. It’s my home base. I love it there.”
Like other neighborhoods in Memphis, LaVere also admits that “my little stretch has had some problems from time to time.”
LaVere recently put her nomadic experience to the test during a European tour.
“It’s hard living, we did a lot of sleeping on floors and eating as cheaply as possible. You don’t really get to enjoy the tourist stuff in that situation.”
What does the future hold for Amy LaVere? More traveling and touring, of course: She is on tour this month with Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes. Stops include New York, Chicago and Washington but a Memphis date has not been announced.
Despite moving around as a child and constantly coming and going to and from Cooper-Young, LaVere understands the importance of being a Memphis musician and its impact on her craft.
“I had picked up the upright bass in Nashville, and I became pretty well versed in rockabilly music because that’s the first place you go to when you play the upright the way I was playing it.
“When I moved to town I already had a lot of respect for the history of Memphis and was familiar with a lot of the names of the people in music history like Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Al Green.
“The more I learn about the history the more I want to be a part of it.”
Find out more at amylavere.com.