Marfa Dialogues

Laura Marling

Willy Mason

2 November 2013

Laura Marling
with Willy Mason
8pm | November 2, 2013
Highland Annex, Marfa, Texas
$5 at the door

Laura Marling’s music belongs to a tradition of British and American folk music that makes the common existentialism of relationship politics into something that is both pastoral and mystical. Her fourth album, Once I Was An Eagle, has been nominated for the UK’s prestigious Mercury Prize, and it’s the first that she’s released since relocating from England to Southern California.

Marling’s musical background is well-documented: Her father taught her guitar at a young age, and her early work was included under an umbrella of young British artists inclined toward the traditional English pastoral folk stylings of the ‘60s and ‘70s (see: Pentangle, Fairport Convention or Nick Drake). In 2008 at the age of 18 she released her first album Alas I Cannot Swim, which was quickly recognized as a landmark document of the aforementioned scene. Two more records followed in 2010 and 2011. In the years since her debut her achievements also include the 2011 Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist, two Mercury Music Prize nominations and the NME Award for Best Solo Artist.

Though her work is lumped in with folk revivalists Mumford & Sons and Noah and the Whale — two groups with whom she was entangled professionally and socially — Marling’s music stands out for the ways in which it breaks with those traditions, incorporating an adventurous sonic pallette that leaves it more aligned with the experimental leanings of Sandy Denny, Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson than the by-the-books revisionist tribute of her former band mates. Likewise she’s expanded beyond the “nu folk” tag assigned by the British press; she now invites lofty comparisons to Bob Dylan and Laurel Canyon-era Joni Mitchell, while other critics hear the expansive psychedelia found in Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd’s mellower fare. American listeners at the A.V. Club even detect hints of Bonnie Raitt’s full-bodied country blues.

Marling’s new album, Once I Was An Eagle, was recorded at the Three Crows studio of regular producer and instrumentalist Ethan Johns (Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams, Vaccines), with Dom Monks on engineering duties and Marling’s lifelong friend Ruth de Turberville on cello. It furthers her legacy as she grows further from her folk roots with songs that include an array inventive tunings, hints of Indian ragas, orchestral interludes and the unexpected eruption of electric guitar. And, of course her finger-picked guitar stylings.

Please join us at the Highland Annex this Saturday, November 2, at 8 pm, for an intimate encounter with this rising star. Willy Mason opens.

    Special thanks to Jennifer Bell, Rob Crowley, Tim Crowley, the Crowley Theater, Tim Johnson, Marfa Public Radio, Marfa Recording Company, Tom Michael and K Yoland.