Laura Gibson "La Grande" video: Directed by Alicia J. Rose, this spooky clip was inspired by and recorded at The Hot Lake Hotel in the town of La Grande, Oregon. [NME]
Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Laura Gibson grew up in a small isolated logging town called Coquille, in the South Coast region of Oregon, the daughter of the town’s kindergarten teacher and a forest ranger. La Grande (pronounced in the way of the American West, without any hint of French inflection – “luh grand”) is a town just east of the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon where native Gibson found inspiration while writing the songs that would become her new album of the same name. Gibson describes La Grande as a place that “people usually pass through on their way to somewhere else, but which contains a certain gravity, a curious energy.” She’s done more than her own fair share of traveling, playing over 200 shows in North America, Europe and Asia since the release of 2009’s acclaimed Beasts of Seasons (Hush Records), and La Grande is, in part, an album about journeys and transitions.
The thematic notion of aggressively taking matters into one’s own hands was at the front of Gibson’s mind during much of the process of developing La Grande, a period in which she also took on the task of transforming a 1962 Shasta trailer into a makeshift studio/private writing place. The twin projects of restoration and transformation – all that sanding, painting and do-it-yourself problem solving – seeped into her music, a sometimes surreal blend of styles that doesn’t belong to any particular decade or genre, but leaves the listener with the distinct impression that something old has been repurposed in a brilliant new way.
One reason the sound of La Grande is so purposeful is that, for the first time, Gibson remained in the producer’s chair throughout its making, bouncing between home- recorded vocal sessions – piling as many as 15 Laura Gibsons on certain tracks – and proper takes at Type Foundry Studios alongside engineer and good friend Adam Selzer (M Ward, Norfolk and Western) and some great players including Calexico’s Joey Burns, members of The Dodos (Meric Long and Logan Kroeber) and The Decemberists (Nate Query, Jenny Conlee), clarinetist Jilly Coykendall, and the drumming duo Rachel Blumberg and Matt Berger (affectionately known together as “Blumberger”). Don’t get the wrong idea, though. While La Grande’s stage is shared with some very special guests, Gibson is at the center of every last note; contributing bits of bass, guitar, piano, pump organ, vibraphone, synthesizer, marimba, even a marching drum. The result is richer and more revealing than any of her previous records – two solo albums and an experimental LP with Ethan Rose – but it never loses sight of her start as a young singer-songwriter who felt more at home playing in an AIDS hospice (where she had a standing weekly gig for two years) than in Portland’s vibrant (and overwhelming) indie music scene.
Over the years, three musicians have actively performed with several music groups all over the world utilizing almost every genre of music from classical to rock. Their experiences evolved and their paths crossed and eventually birthed the new instrumental group, Clocks & Clouds. This group culminates their passions and true desires to perform music that not only entertains, but also inspires their listeners. C&C successfully combines their classical training as well as their enthusiasm for rock ‘n roll to write pieces that display the power and passion of music.