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Singer songwriter in the house

October 24, 2013

by Stephanie Montgomery

The combination of Laura Coyle’s sweet, eerie voice and confident stage performance make her an active player on the region’s coffee house circuit.

Coyle, 32, who lives in the Pine Hills, works for the New York State Retirement Office during the day. At night, she plays the acoustic guitar and sings her original work at a number of bars and restaurants in the area. Sometimes she performs along side fellow musician, Jesse Calhoun. The artist plays frequent happy hours, usually between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. for two-hour sets. Some of her local venues include McGeary’s, The Hollow, Red Square and Valentines in Albany, Backstage Pub in Schenectady, and Trickshots in Clifton Park.

Laura Coyle in front of her home on South Main Avenue in the Pine Hills

Laura Coyle in front of her home on South Main Avenue in the Pine Hills


At age five, Coyle sang alongside another girl in church. The two even wrote their own music. From there, she sang in her Catskill Senior High School Spring Concerts, often performing covers of The Beetles and Jewel.

“I was terrified, but I loved it at the same time.” Coyle said about performing in front of a crowd. “I was terrified when I was younger, I would stand there and not move a muscle, but with age you just deal with it a lot better. After my first two songs, I feel a lot better once that hump is over.”

After the singer graduated from the state University of New York at Oneonta, where she studied music industry, she then moved to New York City. Living in Brooklyn, Coyle worked administrative duties in a medical office and a design agency. She performed all over Manhattan in a band called Miss Lee. When the band broke up, moved back to the Capital Region, where she has lived and performed for nearly five years.

The songwriter has also played for benefits and weddings. She collaborated with her mother and the duo would perform for weddings of their friends. Her mother played the piano and Coyle sang along. She doesn’t play often at weddings anymore but will perform when requested.

Six years ago, the musician broke her foot and ankle. Having nothing to do and nowhere to go during her recovery, Coyle taught herself to play guitar. A friend noticed she wanted a guitar, had an extra acoustic-electronic Ibanez and gave it to her. “I lucked out,” she said. Once she was able to get up and move, she took a few guitar lessons from Mark’s Music in Rhinebeck to correct anything that she was doing wrong, but that was it.

Although the songbird said that she’s “not good at selling herself,” she books gigs through local networking and uses an online service called Afton. “Once you meet other musicians, they will ask you to open for them and fill in, and then you do the same for them, it’s really a networking thing.

“Albany has a lot of opportunities to perform, lots of open mics, lots of bars looking for people,” she said. Coyle’s favorite place to perform is on Clinton Square in Albany. “I really like McGeary’s, there’s always a good and diverse crowd there, and I like the ambiance.”

Tess Collins, manager of McGeary’s said, “she has a very sweet voice, and a sweet way about her. She seems so confident when she goes up there.” Collins described McGeary’s as a venue that supports female performers. “It’s good to give people the opportunity to perform, with a band behind them. It gives them confidence.”

Coyle met her manager, Tom Miller, through her cousin. From there, Miller heard her at Red Square and instantly knew he wanted to book her. The manager first set up the vocalist for a sidewalk performance at Ben and Jerry’s on Lark Street, roughly five years ago. From there, he always “kept track of her”, and supported her performances throughout the area.

Miller described Coyle’s voice as “unique, almost eerie and spooky, but other times it can be upbeat and happy. She has the Coffee House vibe, just her and her guitar.” He believes Coyle “has what it takes” to be in the forefront of a smaller band. “She has potential to be more energetic with a band behind her and I would like to put her out there more.”

The singer will be performing around the area, and will be playing more frequently in the future. Her next performance is Saturday, October 26th, at The Backstage Pub in Schenectady. She will be playing alongside Jesse Calhoun, where the two, according to Miller, “feed off each other’s energy, and have a great time.” -30-


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