Tonight’s post is about UK folk singer Laura Marling. Her first album, ‘Alas, I Cannot Swim’, was released when she was 17 and earned her a nomination for the Mercury Prize, Britain’s most prestigious music award. Her second, rockier, ‘I Speak Because I Can’, repeated the Mercury Prize nomination and also netted her the Brit Award for best female artist. Along the way, her finesse and class on guitar grew exponentially and her writing brought lustrous comparisons to Sandy Denny and Joni Mitchell.
Her relationships with fellow musicians have also drawn attention; Marling’s exes include Charlie Fink of Noah and the Whale (he produced her debut and then, devastated, wrote about their breakup on his band’s second album) and we have the her to thank for Marcus Mumford, of Mumford & Sons, who was a friend, fellow traveller in the new folk scene and backing musician.
Marling’s fourth album Titled ‘Once I Was An Eagle’, will be released May 27. It was recorded at the Three Crows studio owned by Marling’s pet producer and instrumentalist Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams, Vaccines) Marling’s songs are soft, lovely, warm, casual things, and her records are some truly reliable Sunday-afternoon listens. There’s something very simple, crisp and clean about her music. But she dives to far greater depths of lyricism and meaning than anyone else in the industry. The first single off ‘Once I Was An Eagle’ is proof that folk that runs through her blood. It begins with a nimbly finger-picked progression and builds into the driving and triumphant sound of an organ (played by the also fantastically folk Pete Roe). Then the band gradually kicks in, the song’s volume rising to Marling’s voice with charismatic confidence, but she never attempts to hook the listener with tried-and-true tricks or over-the-top vocal pyrotechnics.