To Be with You
Excerpts of review of La La Land's CD from City Magazine -- Southwest Virginia's Premier Arts & Leisure Guide -- April 2001, by Warren Kurtz La La Land, now on CD, presents fourteen songs carefully crafted, superbly recorded, and filled with their trademark harmonies. The title song actually appears twice, once at the beginning for a shorter version, and at the end for a longer version of this catchy pop tune . . . La La Land is primarily the duo of Steve Langston and LaWanda Jenkins, with Steve playing most instruments, harmony vocals most often, and LaWanda providing her professional polished lead vocals. Their Everly Brothers like harmonies stand out on top of the sometimes Pink Floyd sounding backdrops. 'Wake Up' has a wonderful Duran Duran-like dance rhythm. 'Face in the Crowd' brings in more of a mellow mood like that of Fleetwood Mac. 'I Have Tried' has more of a powerful pop punch like that of the Bachman Turner Overdrive, but again with a much more harmonious vocal. While 'I Do What I Must' might seem a bit novel with it's mix of English and Spanish languages and a lively Latin beat and trumpet, it never loses the beauty of a strong folk melody. 'Scary Broken Heart' gets a bit more serious by providing a lyrical tale of a killer, tracing his roots, like Harry Chapin did in the epic 'Sniper' with equal power on this important character analysis . . . Overall, the recording at their studio, Five Cat Recording and Creative Music Production, has allowed for the gathering of melodic layers, crisp rhythms, and an entertaining result. Greg Trafidlo, of Kira Records, on La La Land's CD 'To Be With You' When La La Land decided to release a CD it brought smiles to the faces of all that knew their music. For years Steve and LaWanda haves performed in the Roanoke, VA area bringing their unique songs and complex harmonies to grateful listeners. As a musician, I've always been envious of Steve Langston's guitar work and musicianship. Lus, there has never been a more prolific songwriter in the Southwest Virginia Songwriter's Association that compares with Steve. We can always expect something innovative, solid, well produced and a little left of center at our meetings. La La Land's music is that and more. Their voices blend as smoothly as kaluha and cream. LaWanda's clear, full voice is the centerpiece of the La La Land sound, while Steve's harmonies weave around, creating full, rich and unexpected arrangements. It would be hard to find a duet anywhere, which can weave a harmonic tapestry as sweetly as these two can. It's been amazing watching La La Land grow and develop a sound ans style so distinctly their own. Excerpt from Article Magazine on La La Land's 1996 Home Recorded Cassette 'Dangerous Times' (a collector's item -- which might be remastered sometime in the future if demand is sufficient) Dangerous Times is the premier home studio cassette of fourteen creative pop songs by Roanoke's La La Land. The group is comprised of engaged couple Steve Langston and LaWanda Jenkins, who are both songwriting members of the Southwest Virginia Songwriters' Association. . . . Depending on the song, they either trade of share vocals -- their voices blend so successfully that it's sometimes difficult to know which one is singing lead. Musically, Steve plays almost all the instruments and creates a very full backdrop . . . . . . There is an overall eerie, atmospheric, catchy pop/folk influenced feel -- perhaps best compared in recent times to Richard Marx' 'Hazard', but with more of a '60s/'70s sound. The lyrics are intelligent, creative, and often thought-provoking . . . Maybe it's the emphasis on melody that explains why their songs stay in my head, even after hearing many other tapes and radio songs recently. Their band name is probably the best fit in describing their sound -- dreamy. The 'La La' also refers to the common beginnings in their names. By Ralph Berrier, Jr. The Roanoke Times -- Saturday, June 9, 2001 Steve Langston and LaWanda Jenkins are in La La Land. No, really. Key members of Roanoke's tight circle of songwriters for years, Langston and jenkins perform under the name La La Land and they've just released their debut CD, 'To Be With You' (Kira). The record features the same kind of mature, adult pop music the duo's been playing since cutting their teeth on the Third Street Coffeehouse scene. Backed for the most part by a rotating set of session musicians, 'To Be With You' has a fuller sound than their folky Coffeehouse performances and is meant to be an antidote to radio's teen pop stars. Langston writes much of the music and handles guitar chores, while Jenkins sings most of the lead vocals. Farmiliar sounds of '80s danceable poop and '70s folk and country-rock abound, with most of the songs falling under the latter description. Occasionally, they'll toss in a surprising track like 'Hurricane Season,' a fairly dark song built on a martial cadence, and 'Scary Broken Heart,' a tale of a deranged man. Mostly, though, they lend their harmonies to lighter stuff like the melancholy, Carpenters-esque 'Mercy Bridge' and the chipper 'Dancin' On A Rainbow.' They even turn loose on modern country in 'Moonshine Still.' For the most part, this isn't edgy, ultra-hip, ultra-trendy music. It's friendly, accessible pop with pretty good melodies minus the overly mawkish lyrics and sugary sentimentality typical of modern schlock.