An award-winning English singer/songwriter, Laura Marling's easy voice, old-soul lyricism, and deft fingerpicking evoke the warm and wintry vibe of late-'60s/early-'70s classic rock and folk. Emerging in 2008 with Alas I Cannot Swim, she quickly made a name for herself in the burgeoning West London folk scene alongside contemporaries like Mumford & Sons, Noah & the Whale, and Johnny Flynn. She took home a Brit Award in 2011 for Best Female Solo Artist and has been nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize multiple times. She earned her first Grammy nomination in 2018 for her sixth album, Semper Femina, which, like her two prior outings, sought to temper her bucolic English folk with breezy, Laurel Canyon mysticism. Laura Marling was just 16 years old when she emerged on the British indie scene in 2007 thanks to a handful of infectious singles made available on her online profile. Endowed with a lyrical voice and a gift for building timeless-sounding folk songs (characteristics that find her compared favorably to artists like Joni Mitchell, Regina Spektor, and Martha Wainwright), Marling quickly made a name for herself throughout England thanks to a heavy touring schedule and a few high-profile gigs, not the least of which included an appearance at the 2006 City Showcase: Spotlight London and as the opening act for Jamie T. Although she was still without a label one year later, her debut EP, My Manic and I, was slated for independent release in the late fall of 2007. This status didn't last for long, however, because in early 2008, signed to Virgin, Marling issued the acclaimed Alas I Cannot Swim, which also came as part of a multimedia Songbox package. In 2010, Marling released her sophomore album, I Speak Because I Can, which debuted at number three on the U.K. albums chart and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Marling completed a working holiday tour of the U.S. in 2012, where she played a host of solo shows as she traveled through the States, and announced her fourth album, Once I Was an Eagle, while in California. The record, which appeared a year later, was her third to be nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize. Following the album's release, Marling relocated to L.A. in a bid to settle in one place after moving multiple times while releasing four albums in five years, each with accompanying tours. Plans for a fifth release were initially shelved in early 2013, but by 2014 Marling had completed new material and returned to London to record the album. The resulting Short Movie arrived in spring 2015. Just as Short Movie introduced a heavier sound via the addition of electric guitar, Marling further distanced herself from her folk beginnings on her next long-player, Semper Femina, which was co-produced by Blake Mills and released in early 2017 on Marling's own More Alarming label. The album featured a darker, smokier vibe than her previous efforts. Three years later, Marling returned with her seventh full-length effort, Song for Our Daughter, which was inspired by Maya Angelou's book Letter to My Daughter and co-produced by Marling with Ethan Johns.
© Scott Kerr /TiVo
© Scott Kerr /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 10, 2020 | Chrysalis Records
London folkie Laura Marling's voice is a magical contradiction — tender but strong, earthy but maybe not of this earth. On her seventh album, she defends the stake claimed by previous releases Semper Femina and Once I Was an Eagle: Marling belongs in the company of Joni Mitchell, Carole King and James Taylor. Her voice — both the sound and words — is pure power on the irresistible "Strange Girl": "Woke up in a country who refused to hold your hand/ Kept falling for narcissists who insist you call them man" she croons to a melody that winks at "Walk on the Wild Side." Inspired by a "running away" fund her mother kept, "Fortune" finds freedom aloft strings so heartbreakingly sweet they're fit for a Broadway ballad. The warm charms of "For You" — a home demo enriched by simple humming — could be from the 1930s or 2020. Woozy opener "Alexandra" is terrific, as are the spare and lovely "Only the Strong" and sleepy-eyed yet sweeping title track. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Laura Marling in the magazine