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‘Grande’ belle


Indie folksinger Laura Gibson explores confidence, both live and on her new album, ‘La Grande.’

Joshua Boydston February 15th, 2012

Laura Gibson with Breathe Owl Breathe
9 p.m. Wednesday
Opolis
113 N. Crawford, Norman
opolis.org
820-0951
$10

Singer-songwriter Laura Gibson is cherished for her quaint, angelic ballads. She’s similarly lovely herself.

The Portland-based chanteuse was raised in the tiny city of Coquille right off the Oregon coast and grew up in a home with a father stricken by cancer. Those experiences made Gibson wise beyond her years, always introspective and deliberate from then onward. It shows both in her music and actions.

Grateful for the help of hospice workers during those tough times, she started giving back in the form of music. For two years, she played weekly shows at an AIDS hospice in the Rose City.

“At the time, I thought that’s what my musical outlet would always be,” she said. “If I didn’t have that experience, I may not have fallen in love with sharing songs with people in the same way.”

She slowly worked her way into other sorts of gigs, like periodic performances at her nephews’ elementary school. They were equally informing.

“You get this idea of letting go of your inhibitions and just living in the moment,” Gibson said. “The editor part of you goes away, and that’s a message I need to be reminded of.”

She embraces that childlike wonder and throws those old cautions to the wind with her new album, “La Grande,” an indie-folk ode to the American West and her home state.

“A lot of what was going on in my life is reflected in the record, and I was interesting in transcending my own timidity, both in music and in life,” Gibson said. “I was interested in where self-confidence comes from and where to find it in yourself.”

Finding that confidence led Gibson to letting her hair down, exploring new worlds and creating wilder arrangements, all while maintaining the warmth ever-present in her music. An explosion of ideas resulted, fleshing out what previously had been rather subtle and intimate in nature.

“It’s much more expansive, instrumentally,” she said. “It used to be all about the other instruments responding to me and my guitar. This time, I wanted the instruments to take the lead in songs. Rhythm became the backbone to the record.”



Photo by Parker Fitzgerald

 
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