World, meet Laura Marling. A wisp of a girl from England, she was raised by a music teacher mother and a father who ran a recording studio. She also grew up listening to her parents' folk records and feeling slightly out of place among people her age — a characteristic still noticeable today when she stands onstage in front of fans and shies away from autograph lines after concerts.
Small in stature, but not in voice, Marling's every note calls to memory those same folk albums she was raised on. 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. Laura released her first album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, the same year that Taylor Swift's second album, Fearless, released. The two women are only a few months apart in age, yet Laura's music started out unfathomably more mature than what Swift is releasing even now, five years later. The comparisons stop at their air, their hair and their acoustic guitars.
On the eve of releasing her fourth studio album, Once I Was An Eagle, Marling's music sounds more her own and also more rooted in the past than ever before. From what I've heard thus far, she's on the cusp of something magnificent and I can't wait to hear what the rest of the album is like.
(This is where I make a reference that our younger readers may not recognize.)
Marling's first single off Once I Was An Eagle is proof that folk that runs through her blood. Her sweet but knowing tone fits perfectly when she sings lines like, "Truth about desire they say is the need to breath for another day/The truth I heard about regret, It's the hardest truth I've come to yet/Late at night he'll come to me and tell me I'm alone/Don't you think I already know?" Her simple guitar playing builds into the driving and triumphant sound of an organ (played by the also fantastically folk Pete Roe, I'd wager). All this to say: The song would not be out of place on Joni Mitchell's album, Blue. (Blue, by the way, was also a fourth album.)
For more Laura Marling, I cannot recommend enough buying her debut album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, or either of the two albums that followed. Check out a live performance on YouTube ("I was an Eagle" at Lincoln Hall is particularly good, as is her cover of "The Needle and the Damage Done") or make your way down her list on Spotify (particularly "Failure," "Devil's Spoke," "Rambling Man" and "All My Rage"). When you're done, preorder Once I Was An Eagle... then do everything you can to see her live.
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