North Adams, MA - During Laura Marling’s first British tour five years ago, she and her band were turned away from the gig because at only 17 she was too young to gain admittance to the nightclub. The enterprising musicians set up shop on the street outside the club and played to an enthusiastic crowd on the sidewalk in London’s Soho. A little older but still demonstrating a trademark unwillingness to reach for image-based, mainstream success, Marling stops at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA, on Friday, October 26, as part of her Working Holiday Solo tour. NPR says, “With a sound characterized by graceful, refined lyricism and remarkable melodies, she’s attracted widespread praise.”
Known for a silvery, strong voice, and a clear-eyed comprehension of the world, Marling trailblazed a folk revival among the UK’s young and fashionable and was named “best British female solo artist” at age 21. While some of her songs lay bare her fantasies about a normal way of life that she missed by hitting the road at such a young age, and her insecurities about having left school before she finished, she sums up her performing philosophy, saying, “I just think of everything I do and how happy it will make me to do it.”
NPR, which recently broadcast Marling’s Tiny Desk Concert, calls her recent album A Creature I Don’t Know “mesmerizing,” and it was “hauntingly mystifying and warmly welcoming” and “both difficult and gratifying to interpret.” According to The Guardian (UK), Marling’s gigs are “part chucklesome, part magical.” The paper calls her “tantalizingly inscrutable” and speculates that the title of A Creature I Don’t Know refers to the singer herself. “Despite her role as the handmaiden of the recent British folk-pop revival, Marling has never bared all in the role of a confessional singer-songwriter. Rather, she has cleaved closer to the Bob Dylan ‘keep ‘em guessing’ axis, while vocally channeling the high priestess of acoustic ice, Joni Mitchell.”
Marling began playing the guitar at age five, learning the blues from her father, and has been enthralled by the songs and lyrics of the likes of Neil Young, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, and John Mayall ever since, but also harbors a rather deep love for alt country star Ryan Adams. She joined the “new-folk” movement at age 16 and soon became a part of Noah and the Whale and collaborated with acts such as Mystery Jets and The Moldy Peaches. She released her solo debut Alas I Cannot Swim in 2008, and was promptly nominated for the Mercury Prize. I Speak Because I Can followed in 2010.
Laura Marling takes the stage on Friday, October 26, at 8 PM. Tickets are $16 in advance, $19 on the day of the show. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office, located off Marshall Street in North Adams, from 11 AM until 5 PM (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased online at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA is an independent 501(c)(3) whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for an initial construction grant from the Commonwealth, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of annual operating revenues are from earned revenues, membership support, and private gifts and grants.