Laura Brereton
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Laura Brereton

Medford, Massachusetts, United States

Medford, Massachusetts, United States
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos




"Laura has a unique sense of melody and phrasing, and uses
this ability to write heartfelt songs that are refreshingly
honest and personal."
- Rick Harris
guitarist/singer/songwriter and
founding member of Knots and

"A songwriter's music is a direct reflection of their personality.
Laura's intelligence, sharp wit and sensitivity all come through
in her songs. The listener will instantly relate to her lyrics.
Laura's music is as real as she is."

- Susan Mazer
guitarist, author, and instructor at
The National Guitar Workshop

- Various

"Excerpt from Josh McAuliffe"

Mix a little Bonnie Raitt with a touch of Shawn Colvin, and you
get Laura Brereton."
- Josh McAuliffe
Scranton (PA) Times

- Scranton (PA) Times

"WVIA Journal"

"A songwriter whose compositions are marked by intelligence and
an appealing melodic quality. . ."
-WVIA Journal
Public Radio and Television
Pittston, PA
- WVIA Pittston, PA

"Ken Krause Interview"

Faith Rewarded

Medford singer-songwriter Laura Brereton follows her inner voice to successful new career

As early as age 14, Laura Brereton knew she wanted to be a singer-songwriter.

“I remember sitting on the couch with my dad watching VH-1, and a music video for the Indigo Girls came on,” said Brereton, a Medford resident who grew up in a small town near Scranton, Pa. “It was the first time I had seen two women harmonizing and playing guitars and writing their own music and actually getting some recognition for it.

“After the video was over, I turned to my dad and said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ “

Ever supportive – and musical talents in their own right – her parents went out and bought their daughter a guitar. “But I almost literally didn’t touch it until I was 23,” said Brereton, whose teenage passion was to become an Olympic swimmer. “I sort of always wanted to do something with the guitar but I didn’t really know how.”

That all changed in 1997. Brereton had grown up, graduated from Hamilton College and was in her first year teaching history and English at a boarding school in western New York. Then came what she calls “one of those interesting, life-changing moments” that would begin a long journey to becoming one of the rising stars on the Boston folk music scene.

“I was going through a very difficult time,” Brereton said. “My grandmother, who I was very close with, had just died, and a week later I ended a long relationship. On top of that it was the middle of February – snow everywhere, cold and gray -- and I really didn’t know what I was going to do with the rest of my life.”

Alone on a dreary Sunday afternoon, Brereton noticed a newspaper ad for the National Guitar Workshop, an acclaimed summer program just 45 minutes away in New Milford, Conn. “I was thinking, ‘Things can’t really get any worse for me right now,’ so I called the 800 number.”

The guitar workshop was just instituting a program called “The Absolute Beginner,” and was particularly looking to enroll more female students. Brereton – “I could maybe play a chord” -- signed up for three weeks of courses and was on her way.

“It was a very nurturing and positive experience,” said Brereton, now 31. “The people there were so supportive. They were world-class musicians, professors at colleges, authors of music books, and they were all there excited about whatever level you were at. I absolutely walked away from there knowing very clearly what I wanted to do, but not quite how I was going to get there.”

Brereton returned to her teaching job for one more year, taking guitar lessons on weekends, then moved to Boston to get serious about her music career.

She honed her skills with four years of classes part-time at the New England Conservatory of Music, and took guitar lessons from Rick Harris (of the trio Knots and Crosses) and voice lessons from soprano Leslie Holmes (well-known for her radio show on WCRB-FM). Eventually Brereton began to perform at open-mic nights and then coffeehouses (including opening once for well-known Arlington singer-songwriter Vance Gilbert).

Along the way she won a Belin Arts Scholarship – grants given to young, promising artists from northeast Pennsylvania – and used the prize to fund her first album, “Leap of Faith,” which was released in March.

The album’s title cut is a metaphor for Brereton’s fledgling career. As the song goes, “I hear the voice in my mind/There’s something hidden that I must find.”

“It’s very much autobiographical, talking about being scared and uncertain about what the future holds but knowing that I have to do it,” Brereton said. “Being that it’s my first record and I am kind of taking a leap, throwing myself out there, I liked the image the song evoked for the album title.”

Brereton’s smooth sound is one that even she has difficulty classifying.

“I really have a hard time when people ask me, ‘What style is your music?’ “ she said.
“I wish I could describe it simply, but lots of different influences creep in. There’s definitely a lot of folk sound, some country, some jazz, and a little bit of blues.”

Paula Abate, executive director of the National Guitar Workshop, calls Brereton’s music “Bonnie Raitt meets Mary Chapin-Carpenter – a bluesy, down-home sound that also has clever songwriting. Laura’s not afraid to put herself into her music, and it stays with you.”

Abate – like nearly everyone at the workshop – took an immediate liking to Brereton, who would later sing at Abate’s wedding.

“She’s got such an amazing personality and talent that she just won everyone over,” said Abate, who has been with the workshop since its founding in 1984. “She is a genuinely good person and that comes across to everyone she meets.”

Brereton also met her future husband, Raleigh Green, at the workshop. They were married in July. “I chuckle about it now because I almost chickened out and didn’t go,” Brereton said. “Looking back, it was a major turning point in my life.”

Brereton and Green moved to Medford last summer. He is a musician and a guitar teacher at Phillips Academy in Andover. She taught at an after-school program in Cambridge the last six years, and now gives private lessons in addition to performing solo and with her band The Lonely Pilgrims.

Brereton, whose song “The Ballad of Charlie McEwen” earned honorable mention in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, will make her debut at the Cambridge folk institution Club Passim over Labor Day weekend. She also will play at the Sky Bar in Somerville on Sept. 10 and hopes to perform at Medford venues such as Springstep and the Labyrinth Coffeehouse.

“There are a lot of excellent musicians in Medford. It would be great to have a concert of Medford performers someday, maybe at the Condon Shell or Chevalier Theatre,” Brereton said.

As for her long-term musical future, Brereton tries to be realistic. “I don’t think I want to be a superstar; that’s not what I’m trying to be -- not that I would turn down any kind of money or fame that might be coming my way,” she said and laughed. “I want to continue to write and make records, gig as much as I can, maybe do a small tour around New England someday.

“I think the challenge in the next several years will be how to balance my career while also wanting to do some of the more traditional things like being married, becoming a mother someday, and having settlement. It’s possible. There are a lot of women out there doing it. The ones I admire really maintain their integrity both musically and personally.

“It’s a big balance, but I think musicians, and artists in general, are really creative about making things work and figuring things out.”

It also helps to have faith. When Brereton was making her debut album, a hard drive malfunctioned and about 70 percent of her recordings were lost.

“Fortunately, there was a happy ending,” Brereton said. “Every single musician came back free of charge and re-recorded for me, which is a huge testament to the music community here. And my producer, David Minehan (Woolly Mammoth Sound), didn’t re-charge me for the studio time. I ended up with a great product, it just took longer.”

But what’s an extra six months when you’ve waited since age 14.

* * *

To listen to or order the album “Leap of Faith,” visit

By Kenneth Krause
Medford Transcript 9/29/05 - Medford (MA) Transcript


Leap of Faith (2005)
Water's Edge (EP, 2000)



Laura Brereton arrived on the Boston music scene about 5 years ago. She has been gigging in the Boston area and around New England, as well as in PA, NY, and NJ. Laura's music is original and unique, but she is highly influenced by such great artists as Patty Griffin, Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Shawn Colvin, Alison Krauss, and Lyle Lovett. Not many other local singer/songwriters have the maturity and insight that Laura has, which enables her to create truthful and accessable songs.