This is the first offering of female folk music at The Louisiana this weekend and it’s clear from the warm vibes emanating from the crowd that there’s a real appetite for this.
Laura Gibson is halfway there before she even steps on stage. Being from Oregon, she’s in good nu-folk/Americana company and forms part of a refreshing Portland scene with the likes of Blitzen Trapper and Laura Veirs. But not everyone can shine through like Ms Gibson does.
The comparisons with British nu-folk star Laura Marling are standard but there’s a more interesting strand running through Gibson, who seems much more down to earth and slightly mischievous a la Kathleen Edwards/Beth Orton; especially when she tells an anecdote about a French journalist asking her when she lost her innocence! That was in reference to the beautiful ballad ‘Skin Warming Skin’, a Feist-flavoured number which includes the line “Innocence will bow and kiss your forehead.”
Sounding like a folkier version of Wye Oak, Gibson still harnesses the power of swooning guitars to build that more epic sound into her songs. Her soothing vocals are accompanied by simple guitars and while she does employ a backing band at this gig, all eyes are on her. It’s clear that Gibson’s lyrics document her journey through life and songs such as ‘Nightwatch’ explore the artist’s battle with insomnia. It’s a tender, classical sounding song, which wouldn’t be out of place on a twee Zooey Deschanel indie flick.
A cover of Leadbelly’s ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’ is met with a large round of applause and deservedly so. She takes a classic song, previously covered by Nirvana, and makes it her own. A stripped back, romantic number and potential tear-jerker. Think She Keeps Bees’ or acoustic Marling.
A top start to a top weekend of some of the best modern female folk in the world – first Gibson, next up, The Staves.