There’s Appalachian, Cajun, Southern Plains and Americana among the varying styles of the United States’ homegrown folk and country music.
But Florida-born-and-raised Van Plating has added another to that list: “Orange Blossom Country.”
On Aug. 18, Lakeland’s Plating released the single “The Hard Way” from her latest album, “Orange Blossom Child.” It's the third album for the Winter Park-born, Apopka-raised artist since her first album, “Van Plating,” was released in 2019. Her second album, the nine-track “The Way Down,” was recorded in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and released in November 2021.
On a hot morning in a local Dixieland coffee shop, Plating – who lives in Lakeland with her husband, Jack, three daughters and a son – described some of her musical ventures over the past four years. She said she’s been working to get “Orange Blossom Child” ready for formal release by Sept. 15 and give her fans a fresh-squeezed drop of a uniquely Florida sound.
“The Hard Way” is a collaboration with Reckless Kelly, a country-rock band based in Austin.
“I had begun thinking about ‘a sense of place.’ I decided to brand myself as being from Florida and started to call my music, ‘Orange Blossom Country,’” she said. “I became the self-proclaimed ‘Orange Blossom Queen.’ I hope (Orange Blossom Child) brings (listeners) a sense of home, especially for people from here.”
Produced by Plating, recording for the 11-track “Orange Blossom Child” began in the fall 2022 at her home studio and recording was completed in May. The LP was mixed in Dublin, Ireland, by musician-recording technician Scott Halliday – who’s collaborated with musicians John Grant, Conor O’Brian and Paul Brady – and mastered in Ringwood, New Jersey, by Kim Rosen, an American Grammy-nominated audio mastering engineer.
Plating said that throughout the recording and mixing process for “Orange Blossom Child,” her musical influences emerged, which reflected her Central Florida upbringing as well as musicians who inspired her musical creations. She’s the daughter of Woody and Joan Van and her father was a guitarist, her mother a pianist. Plating began playing violin at 3 years old, played throughout her formative years, graduated as a home-school student in 1997 and in 2001 graduated as a music performance major in violin and voice from Florida Southern College.
Along the way, Plating said she added elements of bluegrass and classic country to “Orange Blossom Child,” all shaped by influences from notable musicians such as Tom Petty, Jeff Buckley and Bob Dylan. She also brought along musical styling elements from her band “Pemberley,” which was formed in her 20s while at FSC. That band performed shows with nationally and regionally renowned acts such as Copeland, The Postmarks, Matt Pond PA and Indianapolis’ Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s.
Plating said she enjoyed highlighting the violin and collaborating with notable musicians such as Elizabeth Cook, Reckless Kelly, Kirby Brown, The Damn Quails, Crystal Bowersox and Shelby Lee Lowe on “Orange Blossom Child.”
“I want it to be really clear that I made this thing; this was my specific vision and my objective,” Plating said. “I am the ‘Orange Blossom Child,’ after all, and along the way, I invited people to join me in the process. The result is a creation that is so much larger, more colorful and more lush than anything I could have created alone. No one is an island. This time, I didn’t create like one.”
'As if he's lived a lot of life' Lakeland's McCoy Moore working as Nashville songwriter
Helping to hone Plating’s sound on the self-produced “Orange Blossom Child” was drummer John Lum. Calling from a tour stop with Devon Allman and Donavan Frankenreiter in Walhalla, South Carolina, Lum said he played on six of the new album’s songs. The St. Louis-based musician said he recorded his parts in his home studio and sent his parts to Plating remotely, starting in October. He called Plating’s music “pop-country with soul.”
“It was a few months process. She’d come up with a new song and she’d send it to me, and we’d talk about it. It was a process of a few months of really getting the drums down for the whole album,” said Lum, a professional drummer for about 10 years. “She’s a very genuine person. She’s not bashful at all about what she’s been through in her story and that really comes across in this album.”
Another contributing musician was Will Payne Harrison, who played bass and electric guitar on “Orange Blossom Child.” The Nashville-based musician met Plating at a folk festival in Orlando in 2019 and ended up playing bass and guitar on the album, recording in Nashville.
“I think what makes (the album) stand out the most is she was finally able to make a record exactly the way that she wanted to in the producer chair,” said Harrison, a touring musician for 20 years. “She chose the musicians and the arrangement and the songs and knocked it out of the park.”
As for her musical future, Plating said she would like to tour the album next year, in Britain and Europe. But for now, she wants people to take time to listen, enjoy and take in the messages behind “Orange Blossom Child.”
“My biggest goal following this album would be to meet as many people as I can and share these songs in person in venues of all shapes and sizes; I want these songs to find a soft landing in people’s ears ,” she said.
“Orange Blossom Child” is available on all streaming platforms.
This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Lakeland musician Van Plating calls her music Orange Blossom Country