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Laura Gibson - Empire Builder

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Laura Gibson

At first listen you could not be blamed for pegging Empire Builder as a rather quaint, folky album with nothing more than one of two choice tracks. However, come across the story behind the music and your opinion will undoubtedly be transformed. In the late summer of 2014, Laura Gibson moved to New York from Portland Oregon to study creative writing and take a break from music following the aftermath of her 2012 debut album, La Grande. For the first part of that journey she took the Empire Builder, a legendary train that connects the Pacific North West with Chicago. In March 2015, just as she was getting used to life in a new city, there was a gas explosion in her apartment building leaving two dead and many injured. Gibson was unharmed but lost everything she owned including all of her musical works. She spent the next few months couch hopping and trying to re-write what she had lost all whilst finishing her second semester at university.

Empire Builder is the result of her recovery; a deeply personal record with tiny cracks of joy and light spilling out from only one track; 'Two Kids'. With a nice, light sound, this short song focuses on a new and very true love, giving you the sense that Gibson has been able to move on after such tragedy in her life. A rather reassuring thought: “You are my sun, my Northern Lights, my Southern Cross”. Moving back to the imminent sadness surrounding this album. The title track really capturers its mood as well as Gibson’s complex lyrical ability: “Thought I heard you whisper in the dark…that I felt you move beside me”. A beautiful ode to the departed, it feels. 'Five and Thirty' also holds an air of morbidness. The use of violins is (as on many other tracks) so wonderfully well timed bringing an extra emotional layer to the song.

Gibson’s use of this instrument across the whole album is brilliant, she utilises it’s beautifully, sombre power at all the right moments. Gibson’s main instrument of guitar does not seem to feature that heavily apart from on the more country sounding tracks like 'Caldera, Oregon'. This song has a brilliantly eerie sound due to the Theremin like instrument that buzzes in the background and the magical Neil Young tinge to Gibson’s voice. It leads us smoothly in to the last track, 'The Last One'. With a deep, Alt Country sound and heaviness to its tone, this song is a great finish to an interesting and well developed album. Empire Builder is a credit to the powerful work of Laura Gibson, evidence that through tragedy can be born beautiful things.

Empire Builder is available via Amazon & iTunes. 


First Listen : Tindersticks - How He Entered

First Listen is the part of Musos' Guide where we tempt you in with lesser played tracks from the recent past or this very minute. Enjoy.

Tindersticks’ Tour Dates:
24 FR Dijon - Grand Théatre 
25 FR Annemasse - Château Rouge 
26 FR Reims - La Cartonnerie 
27 FR Arras-  Théâtre d’Arras 
28 NL Rotterdam - De Doelen 
29 NL Amsterdam - Koninklijk Theater Carre 
02 FR Rouen - 106 Club
03 FR Cenon - Rocher de Palmer
04 FR Tarbes -  Le Parvis
05 FR Nîmes - Paloma
06 CH Lausanne/Pully - Theatre de L'Octogone
07.03 CH Zurich - Kaufleuten
09.03 AT Vienna -  Wiener Konzerthaus
10.03 CZ Prague - Archa Theatre
11.03 DE Munich - Kammerspiele *SOLD OUT*
12.03 DE Stuttgart - Im Wizemann
13.03 DE Cologne - Gloria
14.03 DE Hamburg - Kampnagel
20.03 BE Antwerp - Bourla
21.03 BE Antwerp - Bourla 
22.03 BE Leuven - Het Depot
14 ES Barcelona - Guitar Festival 
15 ES Gijón - Teatro Jovellanos
16 ES Donostia-San Sebastian - Anfiteatro Miramon 
19 FR Paris - Le Bouffes du Nord*
20 FR Paris - Le Bouffes du Nord*
21 FR Paris -  Le Bouffes du Nord*
23 NO Oslo - Chateau Neuf – Det Norske Studentersamfund
24 SE Stockholm -  Södra Teatern
25 SE Stockholm - Södra Teatern
26 DK Copenhagen – Koncerthuset*
27 DK Aarhus - Voxhall
29 UK London – Barbican*
30 UK Coventry - Warwick Arts Centre*
01 UK Liverpool - Philharmonic Hall*
02 UK Manchester - Bridgewater Hall*
03 UK Edinburgh - Usher Hall*
04 UK Gateshead – Sage*
06 UK Cambridge - Corn Exchange*
07 UK Bristol - Colston Hall*
24 GR Thessaloniki - The National Theatre of Northern Greece – Royal Theatre
25 GR Athens - Stegi Grammaton & Texnon (Onassis Cultural Center)
26 GR Athens - Stegi Grammaton & Texnon (Onassis Cultural Center)
16 DE Darmstadt - Centralstation
14 DE Berlin - Konzerthaus

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