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Laura Marling: “Nu-Folk” from England

Laura Marling still is young – she was born in 1990 – but has created quite a resume. Her first (2008), second (2010) and fourth (2013) albums were nominated for Mercury Music Prize Awards. She was nominated for Best British Female Solo Artist in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016. She won in 2011.

Laura_Marling
Laura Marling (photo: JaswoodUK)

Wikipedia describes her early background. The youngest of three sisters, Marling whe was born in Berkshire, England. She was introduced to acoustic music by her father, who is the 5th Marling Baronet, whatever that means. He does have “Sir” before his name, if that means anything these days. More importantly, at least from the point of view of his daughter’s career, Sir Charles ran a recording studio.

At age 16, Marling settled with her sisters on the outskirts of London and jumped into the music scene. The British press labeled the style in which Marling immersed herself “nu-folk.” It features “tradition-tinged” melodies. Many of the bands mentioned would likely only be recognized by folks already familiar with the sub-genre. Two exceptions: Her first band was Noah and the Whale and another she was in included members of Mumford & Sons.

Many of Marling’s videos center on dance. The video clearly is important to her: She won Best Actress in the 72-Hour National Film Challenge for her role in the film “Woman Driver.” It was produced in three days Marfa, Texas, which is about as far away from London and people with “Sir” before their name as it’s possible to get.

The Guardian posted a very interesting article/interview with Marling in March. She had moved to Los Angeles, quit music (she became a mediocre yoga instructor), lost lots of weight and shaved her head. Marling returned to music, moved back to London and released an album, “Sempter Femina,” which is lauded by the writer. She’s an obviously extremely smart and self-aware woman.

Above is “Gurdjieff’s Daughter” and below is “I Was an Eagle.”

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Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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