Laura Marling plays guitar like it's the only thing that's ever interested her. When playing the 23-year-old, English phenom prefers fearless fretwork, summoning the spirit of female folk heroines like Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, and Ani Difranco - acoustic shredders, let's call them - as she goes along. Yes, her songwriting is dense, delivered upon a lovely voice that's rich with a stiff vibrato blowing through it. But I swear to you, those stories and that voice; they're sidekicks, following her fingers up and down the fret board in melodious unison. When Marling's hands back off, her vocals follow suit, falling into a raspy, hurried cadence. "I'm very proud of my guitars," admitted Marling in concert at The Roulette Room in Brooklyn this past Tuesday night. "They've been working very hard." Six different tunings on only two guitars hard...
Those two guitars were the only thing Marling would need for this particular show, the last on a North American tour in support of her most recent album, Once I Was An Eagle. Taking the stage in an old 300-seat auditorium in Brooklyn, Marling's performance felt like a throwback to folk music's glory days...small, intimate, with Laura perched alone before two single mics. The result was a performance that was still and quiet, yet not without its casual moments. In between songs Marling talked of the dilemmas of the road. At one point a phone went off, tripping Laura up. Her response? "I don't care. I don't know why I stopped." At the end of her most recent journey, Marling seemed resigned and appreciative of the folks perched before her on folding chairs and gazing down from a small wraparound balcony. In turn her fans (and this truly was a show for the diehards) were happy to see her, even if her guitar is still the real star of the show.
Laura Performs "I Was An Eagle/You Know (Medley)" For KCRW
Laura Performs "Sophia" For Our Cameras Back in 2011