When Laura was eighteen years old, she moved to Swannanoa NC to attend Warren Wilson College, and soon after that enrolled in a banjo class. That class proved to be the beginning of an acclaimed career as a traditional musician. In 1984, Laura joined the Luke Smathers Band of Canton and was a member of the band for the next thirteen years, until Luke Smathers’s death in 1997.
She was particularly taken with the Smathers Band’s mountain swing style, a blend of traditional mountain, western swing, and early-twentieth-century popular music. “I wanted to know why these guys played ‘Meet Me at the Ice House Lizzie’ instead of just square dance tunes like everyone else,”
Bandmate Charles Gidney remembers that Boosinger was unusually adept at the stylistically fluid repertoire of the group. “Laura is a very talented musician. We had a wide repertoire and we played everything from old-time to classic country, waltzes to breakdowns, boogie to gypsy, western swing to Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby to Gene Autry—very few clawhammer banjo players could handle this while singing it all too.”
As a solo performer, Boosinger is much in demand. She does many concerts regionally and abroad and her recordings are popular and highly praised.
In addition to her concert and festival performances, Laura gives school performances and workshops geared for a variety of age levels and offers a week-long dance residency. She can also teach and lead an old-time shaped-note singing school.