Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “La Grande” by Laura Gibson from her 2012 album La Grande on Barsuk Records.
The burst of sun (solar flare pun intended) we got at the end of this week definitely boosted the morale of Seattle’s vitamin D-deficient denizens. And, if you need further prodding into sunnier moods, today’s song by Oregon native Laura Gibson ought to do the trick. From the start, this upbeat and heavily rhythmic title track seems to propel you forward, and that’s no accident. The album, a reflection of the town it’s named for, is about moving forward and asserting your will to embark upon a path. The eastern Oregon town of La Grande is near the Oregon Trail Highway and is, according to Gibson, “a place that people usually pass through on their way to somewhere else.” Gibson herself is on a new path. This album takes her a few steps away from the simple folk songs she used to play in AIDS hospices. This new effort shows Gibson experimenting sonically with layers and rhythms, something she felt confident doing sitting in the producer’s chair the whole way through for the first time. She also had the comfort of including many friends (from Calexico, The Dodos, The Decemberists, and more) on this album who peppered the album with vim and vigor.
Laura is on tour winding her way down to SXSW and will have a brief respite back home before hitting Europe in April and May. You’ll find more information and dates on her website. In the meantime, her recent in-studio session live performance in the KEXP studio is here and below is her official video for today’s featured song: