Artist Spotlight: Laura Marling
That’s my extremely low-budget attempt at trying to make these anniversary week posts all shiny. Anyways, here is the first of four (maybe more, but probably four, and what the heck am I rhyming for?) commemorative posts, all with some type of connection to music or artists I shared in my first month of blogging here. Today, celebrating one of my first Songs of the Day, the beautiful “Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)”, we turn the Artist Spotlight onto…
Laura is an immensely talented English singer-songwriter who’s only 21 years old. To say the maturity of someone’s music belies their years has become a bit of a cliche when it comes to younger musicians, but with Laura, it’s absolutely the truth. I was literally shocked to find out her age when I was looking her up on Wikipedia a year or so ago, after I had fallen hard for her songs. I could not believe that this kind of beautiful music was coming from someone scarcely a year or so older than I am. Age shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to good music, really, but looking at Laura’s body of work, it’s incredibly impressive that a 21-year-old could have come this far, so early in her life. It never fails to boggle my mind.
“Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)” was one of the Laura Marling songs I found, right after I first started checking out her music, seeing her name around the Internet (due to her Mercury Prize nominations and general positive buzz) and being curious about just how good she was. I have of course already posted about it, but it doesn’t hurt to share it again…
Her second album, “I Speak Because I Can,” which that song came from, is an absolute gem (no wonder it attracted Mercury Prize attention…P.S., the Mercury Prize is one of Britain’s most prestigious music awards, given to the best album of the year from the UK and Ireland. Laura has been shortlisted for her first two albums). It’s strikingly unique, but also warm and familiar. Here’s the firecracker opening track, called “Devil’s Spoke” (sorry the sound isn’t perfect…I would have linked the official video but her label inexplicably removed its US availability on YouTube):
Here’s another beautiful cut from that album, “Rambling Man.” It shows off her knack for starting off songs soft and fragile at times, then bringing in the full band to create an amazing atmosphere:
And one more of my big favorites, the title track, naturally called “I Speak Because I Can.” It’s sweeping, beautifully evocative, and absolutely addicting, all in one. (I love the line: “I speak because I can, to anyone I trust enough to listen/You speak because you can, to anyone who will hear what you say.”)
I actually wasn’t familiar with Laura’s first album until just recently. It was actually the first album I came in contact with…a good friend of mine recommended Laura’s music to me, and I was hooked…but one of the songs had the F-word in it (I’m one of those pesky people that doesn’t listen to those kinds of songs…sorry), and for some reason I was a dork and it took me a while to dive into Laura’s music again, after I checked out “I Speak Because I Can.” Anyways, just recently, I decided to take another look at “Alas, I Cannot Swim,” her debut album (in fact, right now, I’m listening to clips from it for the first time), and it’s just as terrific. Here’s one of my absolute favorites from it, a gorgeous song called “Ghosts.” The lyrics are riveting and poetic, and the instrumentation is just perfect:
Here’s another great song from her debut that I may have just listened to (part of) for the first time, called “My Manic & I.” I’ll be listening to the whole song soon, probably about the same time as you.
Laura’s music is folk with an edge…there’s the traditional guitar/vocal framework that has helped shape the world of folk music for many years now, but she also adds something new, almost intangible to the mix that really makes her music shine. It’s not quite modernized folk…it feels very old-school in many ways…but perhaps it’s reimagined folk in a sense. Here’s a lively number from her new album (“A Creature I Don’t Know”), called “The Muse.” There’s a bit of jazz influence in there, which I love.
And finally, an absolute tour de force also from her latest album. It absolutely blew me away on first listen…and to be honest, my reaction hasn’t really changed after listening to it quite a few times. It starts off in one place…and ends up somewhere entirely new and even more amazing. Here’s “Sophia”:
Laura is an artist full of depth, life, and beauty. I’m happy to finally be able to share much more of her music with you. Thanks for reading, and be sure to comment and enter the giveaway! Happy Anniversary Week.