Critics and fans heralded Laura Gibson’s latest album La Grande as a small step forward in range and purpose for the Portland-based folk singer/songwriter. On past records, Gibson's work has prominently featured soft, quavering vocal delivery and restrained instrumentation, but she uses every bit of what she’s got with purpose.
Conversely, La Grande opens with the the title track's rollicking, round-up-the-wagons drumbeat and bass line, clearly demonstrating Gibson’s desire to add another dimension to her art. The second track, “Milk-Heavy, Pollen-Eyed” comes right back around to the territory where Laura Gibson is most familiar. The pairing of those two tracks is a perfect snapshot of what she does best. It’s those quiet moments that she’s known for, mixed with the new driving spirit of La Grande that makes her so interesting. Fittingly, she opened her Epitonic saki Session with those same two songs.
"Milk-Heavy, Pollen-Eyed” is quite possibly Gibson’s finest song to date. It’s a somber lament on love and fate with amazing resonance and atmosphere that sticks with the listener for days. After “Milk-Heavy, Pollen-Eyed” the album veers off into the off-kilter, samba-influenced atmospherics of “Lion/Lamb,” but at saki, Laura followed up with "The Fire," another stomper that made use of our weathered store piano, lending a barn dance feel to the room. Laura and her band finished off the night with the romantic “Red Moon,” followed by “The Rushing Dark,” performed mostly a cappella.
“The Rushing Dark” highlights Laura’s beautiful voice and why she was the perfect candidate for an Epitonic saki Session. saki is a quiet, dimly lit space. Its character comes from the artists who perform or exhibit there and Laura Gibson took the reins for her session with a demure grace that really transformed a record store into what felt more like a frontier campfire. She’s a truly special artist and we hope you enjoy her session!