6 March – I’m not familiar with Laura Marling, despite her being very popular with the media, but my friend has a spare ticket so I agree to go along and see her at the Leeds O2 Academy.
The audience clearly love her but, while she’s not unpleasant, I find her unremarkable. To my ears she sounds too much like other female singers, particular Joni Mitchell, and I feel she needs to forge a more distinctive style.
One thing she does do with which I agree whole heartedly, she refuses to play an encore. She says they are an affectation and she’s right.
18 March – As our belated Christmas present from Laura and Brian the GLW and I join them to see The Civil Wars at Leeds Metropolitan University. The show has been moved from the original venue The Wardrobe due to ticket demand and with good reason. The place is packed!
Their sound is just their gorgeous harmonies,underpinned by John Paul White’s guitar. They are fine songwriters and perform most of their debut album Barton Hollow. In addition they perform excellent covers of Portishead’s Sour Times, Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, slowed down to a soulful shuffle, and Leonards Cohen’s Dance Me to The End Of Love.
There are echoes of other Americana artists, particularly Chatham County Line, but unlike Laura Marling they bring something of themselves.