Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Feb 13th 2010 2:00PM by Laura Leebove
The new pieces, which comprised about half the set, further solidified Marling's place as one of England's most promising songwriters. A couple of them seemed a little heartier than those on her excellent debut, 2008's 'Alas, I Cannot Swim,' with the vocals a bit more commanding and the guitar strumming often more forceful.
Among them was 'Goodbye England, Covered In Snow,' which Marling said was inspired by her father: When she was 10 years old, he took her out to a snowy place and said he wanted her to take him there before he died. She said that while it surely was "a mean thing to say to a 10-year-old," she never loves England more than when it's covered in snow. Much of the evening had a wintry feel to it, and not just because of the remnants from a snowstorm earlier in the week. Before Marling's set, opener Nathaniel Rateliff sang about his great-grandfather, a bootlegger who froze to death on his way home while drinking his own whiskey. Rateliff and his rootsy folk band, The Wheel, as well as British musician Pete Roe, served as Marling's backing band and provided a warm mix of banjo, keyboards, upright bass, drums and vocal harmonies.
Even with little crowd banter, the things Marling did have to say were charming, whether she was telling the back story to a song, or offering up the talents of her band mates (string bassist Julie Davis recited a sentence-long palindrome and Roe treated the crowd to a purposefully off-key version of 'The Entertainer' on the piano). Marling also performed Neil Young's 'The Needle and the Damage Done,' the first cover song she ever learned, which she said her mother at first thought she had written.
After explaining her dislike for encores and assuring that not doing one doesn't make her mean or stingy, Marling ended with the title track from her first record, which had to be restarted after a couple bouts of uncontrollable giggling. Turning to Roe she asked, "What's up with your banjo?" to which he sheepishly whispered with a laugh, "I'm just playing the wrong notes." But no need to be so serious: It's probably better to live by the chorus of 'Alas, I Cannot Swim,' which turned into a warm, harmonious hoedown of "Work more, earn more, live more, have more fun."
Laura Marling on AOL Music