Singer-songwriter Laura Marling performs Saturday in GV
Singer/songwriter Laura Marling rolls into Grass Valley Saturday for a stop on her West Coast tour for a concert at The Center for the Arts.
Marling was only 16 years old when she emerged on the British indie scene in 2007 thanks to a handful of infectious singles made available on her MySpace profile. Endowed with a husky voice, an acoustic guitar, and a gift for building quirky, hooky folk songs (characteristics that find her compared favorably to artists like Lily Allen, Regina Spektor, and Martha Wainwright), Marling quickly made a name for herself throughout England thanks to a heavy touring schedule and a few high-profile gigs, not the least of which included an appearance at the 2006 City Showcase: Spotlight London and as the opening act for Jamie T.
Although she was still without a label one year later, her debut EP, My Manic and I, was slated for independent release in the late fall of 2007. This status didn’t last for long, however, because in early 2008, signed to Virgin, Marling issued Alas I Cannot Swim, which also came as part of a multimedia Songbox package.
In 2010, Marling released her sophomore album, I Speak Because I Can, which debuted at number three on the U.K. albums chart and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Marling completed a working holiday tour of the U.S. in 2012, where she played a host of solo shows as she traveled through the States, and announced her fourth album, Once I Was an Eagle, while in California. The record appeared a year later and was her third to be nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize.
Marling came off the road after touring her hugely successful fourth album Once I Was an Eagle, and immediately set about recording its successor, Short Movie. “I realized that I hadn’t been in a place for longer than two or three weeks since I was 16,” she explains. “I thought ‘I wonder what will happen if I try and root myself somewhere?‘ Look back over the past eight years.”
She gave herself six months away from anything related to music, to explore and learn new skills, to try other kinds of writing, other ways of thinking. She returned to Los Angeles, where she has lived for the past few years, and sought new direction. “LA is literally the worst place to not have a job,” she says. Exploring the worlds of mysticism, yoga and psychedelics, she began to feel the isolation of her city, to notice “people talking about good vibrations in a concrete jungle”, the people on the street who “just seem to let the light come in a bit too much to close it off again. And you can’t look at them without knowing that you’re capable of doing that too.”
Slowly out of the “chaos” of that time Marling began to find a kind of order. Her intention was to “take the mysticism of songwriting and tame it in a way. Or take control of it. I wanted some whipping into shape. And I think that by whatever means I have done that. And that’s why I think this crop of songs is different.” These songs reflect a time of great exploration for Marling, and so encompass doubt, magic, hope, humanity, salvation, rage, peace, place and being alone.
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