Laura Gibson stopped by the Paste Studio to play a few songs off her most recent album Empire Builder, released earlier this month on Barsuk Records. Gibson’s sound might be as much influenced by a natural predisposition to music as it is the fact that, artistically, she wears so many hats. She’s spent some of the last few years writing music for commercials, and just last year served as the primary composer and lyricist of the play Up the Fall; a work intended to be performed by people with developmental disabilities. The Oregon born singer songwriter resides in New York City, where she’s currently pursuing an MFA in Fiction Writing.
Fiction writing is an fitting pursuit, considering Gibson’s lyrical narratives often serve as the springboard for a set of songs that can only be described as stark and introspective. Even the album title Empire Builder is a reference to the Amtrack train that brought her all the way from Oregon to the Big Apple. On the song “Damn Sure” Gibson, makes evident her ability to set the scene and put you in a moment, as she sings lines like, ”Love was shape in a slippery light” or, “You were playing piano in an empty room, no ring on your finger, a calloused thumb, and you were damn sure about it.” There aren’t many lyricists who can use as many words without sounding gratuitous and Gibson strikes an absolutely perfect balance.