Laura Gibson

Catching Up With Laura Gibson

Laura is about a week away from a short tour with Ethan Rose in support of the sublime Bridge Carols (out now on Holocene Music).  The duo recently premiered a mesmerizing video for “Younger” from director Ryan Jeffries.

Not long ago the duo raised the bar about ten million notches for live ambient performance at their Portland album release show.  Attendance at one of the upcoming shows is highly recommended, but since we don’t think they will be able to bring the additional ensemble in tow, here are some freshly uploaded videos that captured the surprise event from that show:

Watch all the videos from this performance in a playlist at YouTube.

Upcoming Dates

Mar 26 Bird on the Wire Festival Pullman, Washington
Mar 27 Visual Arts Collective Boise, Idaho
Mar 28 Slowtrain Records Salt Lake City, Utah
Mar 31 Rickshaw Stop San Francisco, California
Apr 1 Cal Arts Valencia, California
Apr 2 Echo Curio Los Angeles, California

Laura Gibson & Ethan Rose – “Bridge Carols” Out Today, Dates.

Laura Gibson & Ethan Rose - Bridge Carols

Bridge Carols, the new project from Portland, OR friends Laura Gibson and Ethan Rose, takes the listener to a place that exists between the notes and behind the words of modern music. It’s music that feels intimately familiar, timeless; at its heart, quite natural and human.

Bridge Carols began as a conversation of mutual appreciation and curiosity – a shared desire to challenge old ways of working. Ethan had mostly distanced his music from words, while Laura had often felt bound by them.

Discover more, and stream the entire album at Holocene Music or the handsome micro-site

See them live:
February 12, 2010
Portland, Oregon
CD Release at Holocene w/Benoit Pioulard **EARLY SHOW**
March 27, 2010
Boise, Idaho
Visual Arts Collective
March 28, 2010
Salt Lake City, Utah
Slowtrain Records
March 31, 2010
San Francisco, California
Rickshaw Stop
April 01, 2010
Valencia, California
Cal Arts
April 02, 2010
Los Angeles, California
Echo Curio

Laura Gibson at Daytrotter

Laura Gibson

Go listen to this sessions and hundreds of others at, or for iPhone/Touch users via the Daytrotter App.


Original version appears on Beasts of Seasons. A few summers ago, we found an old washtub in the antique store around the corner.  We bought it to use as a fire pit in the backyard, and there began a nightly ritual of sitting and watching the fire go out, tracing the smoke as it rose and weaved through the trees.  The summer passed so quickly, and as we observed the glowing embers melting into the black night, we often felt we were watching time slip from our grasp.  I wrote Spirited thinking of that washtub, of faces reflecting orange and gold, and of the longing to press ourselves inside of a moment as soon as we realize it is escaping us.  The washtub itself escaped us, borrowed by the neighbors to be returned the following spring.  Left to the autumn rain, it’s now a skeleton of rust and ash. (A note about the performance: The drums are a combination of Sean and Micah.  Micah masters the clickety-clack while Sean, is playing piano with one hand and Floor Tom and cymbal with the other).

“Where Have All Your Good Words Gone”

Original version appears on Beasts of Seasons.  Upon finding myself at a loss for words, always finding myself at a loss for words…  I decided to follow my frustration, and began thinking of mortality as having nothing left to offer the world – no rhymes, no poems, no words of kindness or clarity, no truths to pull from my gut.  Even more frightening, the idea of looking back and finding so many words wasted on sarcasm and half-truths.  It’s a terrifying way to think about death. (Note the live version is quite different from the recorded version, as it’s lacking the luminous viola of Eyvind Kang but features the haunting saw of Micah Rabwin and Sean Ogilvie balancing melodica, ukelin and drums).


Original version appears on Beasts of Seasons.  Glory is a collection of images, moments of tenderness and reverence, of loss and of new life.  Not about my family exactly, but certainly reminding me of my family.

“O Frailty”

Original version appears on Bridge Carols. I don’t remember a moment of writing this song, but I have hummed and sang the melody to myself for a long time, with different lyrics floating through.  At some point, it just shaped itself into a song.  I had intended to include it in Beasts of Seasons.  But in the end, Beasts of Seasons was a record dwelling in the human body, where O Frailty seemed to dwell out in the stars.    It’s more of a cosmic view of mortality.  It ended up fitting perfectly in a collaboration with sound artist Ethan Rose (to be released this February).  The version with Ethan is much more fluttery, pitchy and strange, broken down after running it through a tape machine for several hours.  Sean and Micah and I sat down at the piano one day and came up with a more classical chorale approach.

“Funeral Song”

Original version appears on Funeral Song.  Despite the title, I’ll always consider this a love song.  Understanding love in a way that if death comes, I won’t fear the letting go, or being let go. Like most people, I often wonder if I’m capable of such love.  But I suppose the song is less a testimony of my own selflessness, and more a hope, or perhaps faith, that my love might be realized in this way.  Although it’s such a simple composition, I chipped away at Funeral Song for a long time, and of all the songs on Beasts of Seasons, it’s probably the most meaningful to me.  I hope to sing it as an old lady someday.

Beasts of Seasons Sweeps NPR’s Best of 2009!


There was only one album that all three NPR Music producers agreed on for their top 10 list: Laura Gibson’s Beasts of Seasons. Here’s to the incredible staying power of a quiet record released in February. Get your copy here!

(#4) A slow-motion and passionate record, Beasts of Seasons asks a good deal from the listener. It takes time to dive into the world created by Laura Gibson and her collaborators, who include producer Tucker Martine and multi-instrumentalist Cory Gray. There’s a sad, ghostly tension in many of her songs; a languid beauty that feels as close to meditation as I may ever reach. I put this record in the same category as star-gazing. – Bob Boilen

(#5) Beasts of Seasons opens with a creeping, slow bloom of feedback and static. If it’s the sonic equivalent of darkness and what may be lurking there, then Laura Gibson‘s fragile voice and plaintively strummed guitar soon emerge as a flicker of light. It’s a mesmerizing contrast, as the curtain rises for Gibson’s arresting meditations on life and death. Producer Tucker Martine flawlessly executes this balancing act, pairing the beautiful with the gloomy to create a mysterious world of curiosities. – Robin Hilton

(#8) Laura Gibson seems to sing down into her own lungs, so quiet and delicate is her singing voice, but Beasts of Seasons isn’t as unassuming as it might seem at first. Split into two sides — marked “Communion Songs” and “Funeral Songs” — the album understandably divides its time between grieving and rejoicing, but it never radically deviates from elegant, impeccably arranged uneasiness. For all its muted grace, Beasts of Seasons isn’t afraid to pack a wallop into a whisper, as in “Where Have All Your Good Words Gone,” in which Gibson gently twists the knife: “Do you wish you were an honest man? Do you wish you were a better man?” – Stephen Thompson

Laura Gibson Video from Vienna Book Shop

It is the current internet zeitgiest the world over. Musical performances captured on video in colorful contexts.  They Shoot Music did a fine job of capturing Gibson and bandmates Sean Ogilvie and Micah Rabwin in this Vienna bookshop.  Laura reports they’ve done several of these sessions on her second tour of Europe in three months: “We’re doing one in a toy store in Paris today!”

We’ll be sure to pass that on when it goes live.  My guess is it’s for a Takeaway Show or Le Concert a Emporter for La Blogoteque one of the longest running guerrilla video performance teams on the beat.



Laura Gibson @ Mississippi Video Highlights

Some new-to-the-stage material:



Watch several performances in a video playlist.

Aside from saying it was a special night, we’ll let the videos speak for themselves, and perhaps  add this very visual description from Melophobe (which posted quality pictures and an audio track.)

After a couple amusing stories that passed as jokes, and one too many spells cast on the audience with their magical accordions, xylophones, and melodicas, country princess Laura Gibson graced the stage: golden hair tumbling down over an ivory vintage dress hovering ghost-like over dark brown tights which plunged dramatically into a pair of white, 1970’s nursing shoes.

Before launching into “Hands in Pockets,” Laura joked in a notch above a whisper, “I realize it’s a rainy night and swine flu is on the rampage. I just came from Japan and everyone on the subway has those masks. So, anyone who feels a cough coming on, if you could move to one side of the room, and if you feel healthy, move to the opposite side. Uh, thanks.”

Laura Gibson in the UK, on BBC Radio


Laura sends a dispatch via the BBC airwaves, with this Radio 6 interview and studio session with Marc Riley. (With all respect to the BBC, we’ve taken the liberty of making it easier to find and listen to here:)

Laura Gibson Interview & Session on BBC6

Laura just kicked off a month of dates, mostly with Alela Diane, in support the EU release of Beasts of Seasons [Souterrain], before a west coast run here in the states, and then shooting over to Japan with Ethan Rose. She talks about this, life in Coquille, and her recent prison performance with the gregarious Riley.

And while in London, she snapped this shot of a big Peter Broderick poster: