Laura Marling is a great talent. I have no doubt about that. It was confirmed again after seeing her in the serene setting of St Stephen's Church in Sydney on Tuesday night. A sold out crowd remained hushed through out, enthralled by her striking voice and her dark tales. The venue was great too. Wide and open there were no poles or structures blocking the view. So we could all just sit and back and soak in the glory of Laura.
I think what separates Laura Marling, for me, from the folk scene at the moment is her strength and darkness. Many singers at the moment trade in pleasantness and niceties. I won't name names but Laura has a voice that cuts through and stabs you in the heart. Also her subject matter, as she admitted last night, is fairly dark. Which I like, it gives her songs true grit and gravitas. She also mentioned last night that she has pared things down. She no longer tours with a band. It's just her, two acoustic guitars and her longtime friend and cellist Ruth de Turberville. This also means quite a bit of tuning between songs. But Laura apologised for it and I dont' think anyone was seriously upset by it. The night was short but sweet, she doesn't believe in encores, and was a showcase for her new album in "Once I Was An Eagle". I was very happy that she opened with the album's opening 4 song medley. It was truly superb. She also gave us other great tracks such as "Master Hunter" and "Saved These Words". Of the older songs I think "Rambling Man" was probably the highlight. There was even time for two new songs, she told us she has aleady written a new album, although I wasn't quite sure of the titles of these ones. All in all it was a lovely and special night. And to think she is still only 23.
Take The Night Off
I Was An Eagle
David/Movie Star? (new songs)
Kathy's Song (Simon and Garfunkel cover)
What He Wrote
I Speak Because I Can
Saved These Words