Where the ladies at? Laura Gibson: Artist of the Hour

There seems to be something about folk music that attracts more men than women. Could it be the themes of trees, moody weather patterns, ships and trains, the wool of alcohol, fires, wolves, less-taken roads, and politics that are keeping the lasses at bay? If so, then it is no surprise that Laura Gibson, daughter of a forest ranger and originally hailing from a logging town outside Portland, Oregon, fits right in with the gang of guys. 

Laura Gibson-female and folky

Laura Gibson-female and folky

A little more than a month ago, her newest album Beasts of Seasons was released. Since then, it has received great reviews from the likes of NPR  and Pitchfork awarded her an excellent 7.2, making her eligible to win the 2009 Webby awards (ooh, ahh) even if they did steal a line from Daytrotter’s 2007 interview to describe her sound…

I mention her now because, to be honest, in trimming the crazy spring growth of my folk rock playlist last weekend, I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty about the absence of female voices on it…especially when I really started paying attention to what was playing and realized they weren’t even typically the background vocalists. My redeeming artists? Laura Gibson, Alela Diane (who Gibson toured with last year), Lisa Hannigan, Eva Cassidy, Joni Mitchell, Marissa Nadler, Sydney Wayser, Sue Merchant, and a somewhat misplaced Brandi Carlile. 

Considering Lisa Hannigan has the more recent release, I could go into more detail about Sea Sew, but, truly, I like Laura Gibson better and she is on my mind for two other reasons as well. 1) Since the beginning of April she’s been touring with, (be still my beating heart), Damien Jurado. Now, if you are anything like anyone I’ve ever lived with, you’ll want to begin ignoring me right about now, because otherwise you’ll hear my musings on how great his muted, dismal, story-telling dirges are… but in seeing if he had any shows heading to this neck of the woods, I was saddened to see that I’d somehow missed one earlier in the month, but delighted to see that she was, and still is, his current traveling companion.

2) The other reason she’s on my mind is because I recently headed over to the Hush Records homepage. I wanted to learn more about another group they have (also from Oregon) called Loch Lomond, (about whom I’ve heard figurative whispers for what feels like years now) but who I’ve never thought to explore until two weeks ago, when I found a single of theirs on someone’s blog and thought it worthy of repeat listen, (“The Mountain” for those curious, which sounds very much likes something by Horse Feathers if you need a comparison–as an aside, head over to Daytrotter for Horse Feathers freebies!) and Laura is on Hush too, so there you go. Now you’ve got a couple new names to check out… first and foremost, Laura Gibson, but then everyone else as the mood suits. Enjoy!


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