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La Grande

Laura Gibson
BARSUK
With all the folksy finger-pickin’ songwriters out there, it can be easy to overlook someone like Laura Gibson. Quiet and subtle, her music requires slowing down and listening carefully. Gibson’s haunting, fragile voice sounds a lot like Karen Dalton and, in moments, Billie Holiday. A nylon-stringed guitar, woodwinds, piano and percussion create subtle textures that result in a warm, organic instrumentation, perfectly complementing Gibson’s voice. The songs themselves range from ghostly and hypnotic, like title track “La Grande,” to the bossa nova swing of “Lion/Lamb” and “Rushing Dark,” which features Gibson’s voice atop the scratch of a record player needle, light drums and chanted background vocals. This beautiful collection is sure to win over fans of artists like Joanna Newsom and Devendra Banhart, as well as those of classic jazz vocalists. The album’s title refers to a small town in Oregon, Gibson’s home state, which she describes as a place “people usually pass through on their way to somewhere else, but which contains a certain gravity, a curious energy.” Don’t overlook this album, either.