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English folk singer and songwriter Laura Marling stopped by the WERS studio as her nationwide tour in support of A Creature I Don’t Know just getting started. At the ripe age of 22, Marling has already released three full-length albums, has been nominated for two Mercury Music Prizes, and has taken home the Best Female Solo Artist award at the 2011 Brit Awards.
Marling performed songs solely off of her newest album in a stripped down acoustic set. Starting off with “The Muse”, Marling’s voice is undeniably a force to be reckoned. On this track, she playfully changes intonation with her instrument singing, “God’s work is planned/I stand here with a man/that talked to me/so candidly,” ending with a cheeky, “more than I’d choose.”
Between songs, Marling spoke of her upbringing and her attraction to music at a very young age. Her father owned a recording studio when she was very young; unfortunately, it came to a close way before she even picked up her first instrument. “I picked up a guitar when I was five or six, so my choosing to become a musician wasn’t such a big shock to [my parents],” Marling said. While her current music library ranges everywhere from folk to funk, Marling notes her roots lay in the classics having grown up in a household of Bob Dylan and Neil Young.
Second in the set came “Don’t Ask Me Why”. Opening with an almost a cappella Marling beckoning you to listen intently to her soft-sung poetry, “He don’t drink from this well/He’s done with the world/And done with the girl/And I don’t ask him why/ And he tells me no lies.”
Since her first album, the changes and evolution in Marling’s sound become more and more evident. She credits it to a few factors such as maturing with age and the addition of a live band. “It was a mix of both, I’ve been playing with a band for two years now,” Marling said. In fact, the entirety of A Creature I Don’t Know was recorded as a live set. “We wanted to cut it live so we rehearsed a week or so before we went into the studio and recorded it live right there,” Marling explained. “I prefer a mix of [playing on my own and with the band], it’s a very different thing that was perfect for what A Creature I Don’t Know was but I think in the future I will do more on my own.”
Marling wrapped up the set with a soulful rendition of “Sophia”, her single from A Creature I Don’t Know. Marling sang an octave lower, exposing a vulnerable side, asking, “Who’s been touching my skin?/Who have I been letting?” Hearing such raw emotion come from someone as young and poised as Marling leaves you eager for more. Perhaps the wait won’t be long at all as Marling has begun writing and working on new material for a fourth album with potential to be recording in the studio by the end of the year.
Marling will be playing tonight with supporting act Willy Mason at the Berklee Performance Center.