The Lockdown Sessions (ep)
Chrysalis Records Limited, in partnership w/ Partisan Records
Though it was sometimes a challenge batting away the various Lockdown-streamed home-concerts; famous musicians beaming themselves in with their ‘all in this together’ vibe delivered from the comfort of their opulent house…it was also a time of great giving, of rare and rich performances – reminders of the gift of music and some people got it massively right.
We laughed at Gal Gadot and her rambling bunch of celeb-mates re-imagining Lennon’s Imagine with tone-deafness being the major theme (and overall sound). But we also got to hear artists up close and personal – well, through the wall of the internet. Some we’d never seen live or hadn’t heard live ever, some we’d forgotten about. And sometimes, just sometimes, the offering was very good, very pure.
In that basket I’d absolutely place Laura Marling. She’s a class act and I hang onto her recordings, I cherish the gig I saw her perform a few years back now and I look forward to her new material – which is never too long of a wait for she’s prolific and always with the strictest of quality-control.
This wee EP is a few of her home-concert offerings, four songs with just her voice and acoustic guitar. Exquisite, near perfect and yet served up campfire-styles basically.
All at once contemporary and timeless her musical voice is as strong to me as Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Suzanne Vega, Bob Dylan. And those are the greats as far as I’m concerned. There are others of course. But she’s up there with them. Doing fine work always and not caught in the game. Actually just doing the work. Serving up the songs she’s written. Always hoping to do her best and always managing that too.
Song For Our Daughter is the imagined worries of a new parent concerned for the world their child will grow up in; a very real fear even before global pandemic.
Fortune plays with the double-meaning inherent in the word – and takes us back to Dylan at Café Wha?, to Joni in her newly-found earliest folk songs from the mid 60s – but it’s actually Marling in her lounge, digital recording at its very best.
Hope We Meet Again feels, again, like a perfect Lockdown comment – the title alone. We’re all feeling this.
But when Marling delivers these words it’s about the mood and moment of the song, the message is subtle, never hammered home.
The End of the Affair is about as gorgeous of a story-song as Marling has made. Which I do hope is saying something. There are studio versions of these songs 3/4s of them on an album she released earlier this year (which I really must get to writing about – it’s wonderful of course). But this is a nice wee snapshot; I feel like this is the back-pocket photo you keep, you show it like your brag-snaps. This is what you’re into. This is what it looks like/sounds like. This is the business card. You hand this out to hook others in. It should work. Marling is a legend in the making.
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