Laurel Brauns
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Laurel Brauns


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"Laurel Brauns - Strawbery Banke"

Laurel Brauns can do the siren singer-songwriter thing, casting her sterling voice into songs about wide skies and maze-like hearts. But her writing comes with claws, a darker, gothic undercurrent that brought an undertow to her two full-length albums, “Swimming” and “Periphery.” A self-described “trad-music geek” who studied Celtic music, she grew up in central New Hampshire, clocked time busking in Ireland, and became a genuine scholar of indie rock when she wrote her college thesis on Pacific Northwest labels like Kill Rock Stars and Sub Pop. Brauns brings to bear all of her Celtic and indie influences on the haunting “Strawbery Banke,” where cellos and dark finger-picked acoustic guitar all but surround you with the ghosts of the bygone characters the song speaks of.

Though she’s settled in Portsmouth, Brauns still tours on both coasts, and she just completed a three-song demo that includes Marc McElroy on the bass and behind the mixing board, Nate Horton on drums and cello, and Jon Nolan on bass and electric guitar. But Brauns is as adept with a Rolodex as a guitar: after coming back to New Hampshire, she became the emcee of the highly successful Hush Hush Sweet Harlot series—where she books both local and out-of-town talent to frequently sold-out rooms—and she handles press for the new Broken Sparrow label. Whether she’s booking John Vanderslice in a close-up and personal show at the Red Door or dragging artists from the West Coast to play in our town, Brauns has given a major boost to the local indie and singer-songwriter scene. Believe her when she says, in a nod to the Saddle Creek scene, that Portsmouth could be “the next Omaha”—we’d take her over Conor Oberst any day. - The Wire

"Talk to the Red Door: Brauns launches Hush, Hush Sweet Harlot"

Most nights of the week, the Red Door in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, caters to a chic after-work crowd with a menu of gourmet martinis — try the ginger pear, it’s fab — and DJs that spin trance and house beats. But on Mondays, a different scene takes over: Dressed in denim and hoodies, they occupy every leather stool, loveseat, and pillow-strewn couch in the room to listen intently to acoustic music. The room’s dark-red walls and wooden beams start to look more like a country inn than an urban lounge, and the crowd’s so still that you can almost hear the musicians think.

Ever since the Hush, Hush Sweet Harlot series came back to life at the beginning of January, every Monday night has been like this, part coffeehouse singer-songwriter night, part indie-rock concert, and part hootenanny. The cover’s just a $5 donation in the tip bucket, and the Red Door’s manager, Cresta Smith, has sweetened the deal by pricing PBRs at $2 and martinis at $5. And so far, every night has pulled a crowd. Last week, Lazarus’s organ-seared Americana warmed up the room for Tigersaw, who performed un-amped, in a semi-circle that cradled the front seats; the Castanets, who had come all the way from San Diego, followed with their own deathly spare country, before Boston’s Ponies in the Surf — who fought a blizzard to drive here from Belfast, Maine — wrapped up the show, and no one minded that Camille McGregor’s voice was frayed. All told, you got four bands in three hours and you were home by midnight — not bad for a Monday.

The Hush, Hush series started last year in the hands of Sid Alexis, of the Hotel Alexis, and after a few months’ hiatus it relaunched in January with a new booker, Laurel Brauns. Brauns was a regular performer at the original Hush, Hush; the Gilford, New Hampshire, native has traveled widely in the English-speaking world, from busking in Ireland to living in a tent in Alaska to save money for her recording, but Hush, Hush helped pull her back to New Hampshire.

"I never wanted to move back to New Hampshire, because I was like, ‘All it is is jam bands,’ " says Brauns. "But then when I met Sid and Jarid [del Deo, of Unbunny] and all those guys, I was like, ‘Oh, there is something going on!’

"I know tons and tons of bands, and people on tour, and I was thinking, it’s a really cool way to do favors for people," says Brauns. "It was handed to me in my lap, it already had been established, and there’s a great room for it — so many people, especially in the indie acoustic world, have been so psyched about the space itself. And there’s definitely an audience for it once it gets rolling."

Upbeat, a self-described workaholic — she still gigs around New England while she manages the series — and well-connected in the indie scene, Brauns has been on the phone with national bands who are touring the East Coast. She hopes to land at least one touring act every month or so, along with regular acts from Boston to Portland. And she doesn’t mind passing the tip jar more than once to make it worth the band’s while. "I want people to be able to depend on it being worth their while to leave their house on a Monday night," says Brauns. "I’m all for people experimenting, having fun, especially if they’re local. By all means, get your little experimental duo up there and go to town, that’s fine. [But] I don’t want it to become some glorified open-mic or anything."

The series is a boon for the Red Door, turning around the deadest night of the week with good crowds and one sell-out (the Unbunny/Jason Anderson concert, which had a line out the door in sub-zero weather). And for the foreseeable future, it’ll stay on Mondays. "It started out on Wednesdays," recalls Brauns, "[but] the bar itself had built up enough of a following with the after-work, have-a-few-martinis folks that wanted to just go out and have a conversation, that the music series just really clashed with it — those people all just wanted to talk."

Hosting it in a martini lounge is no more bizarre than the other venues where local music has landed since the death of Portsmouth’s only rock club, the Elvis Room. From the experimental and underground rock nights that take place in the basement of the Muddy River barbeque restaurant, to the terrific Jumbo Circus Peanuts bashes at the VFW Hall, Portsmouth has learned to cram its local talent into any place that will have it.

But indie rock has had few homes as consistent as Hush, Hush, and if the series keeps its momentum, it’ll be the cornerstone of an underappreciated scene. Get Brauns talking and she’ll reveal some big ambitions, even nodding hopefully to the city of frozen steaks and Bright Eyes: Omaha, Nebraska. "I don’t want to say that [Portsmouth’s] a no-name town, but a lot of bands feel self-conscious saying, ‘I’m from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.’ And to me, I feel like especially after the whole Omaha thing happened, there can be some pride in being from a town that’s kind of random. Especially if - The Portland Phoenix

"New Artist with a New CD hits the Seacoast in April"

It is obvious from listening to Laurel Brauns' second CD, Periphery, that she has lived life as if fired from a slingshot. Touring and traveling both the East and West coasts, she has accumulated indelible memories of places and people throughout the country. The CD's track list, in this sense, is like a collection of wistful Polaroids. The songs, whether they involve love, politics or road trips, have the feeling of unrepentant nostalgia, reflecting 24 years worth of insight and experience.

Periphery was recorded in Portland, Ore., which along with New Hampshire, Alaska and Ireland, is one of the places she had called home. Right now she is back in New England, living in the Lakes Region and performing throughout the Seacoast. On Thursday, April 8, she will be appearing at Biddy Mulligan's in Dover, and on Monday, April 12 she will be playing at the Red Door in Portsmouth.

"A lot has changed with the music scene here," Brauns said. "Everything going on around the Seacoast makes me really excited."

Over the past several years, Brauns has fallen into a routine of spending winters in New Hampshire, where she often performs at ski lodges, and then heading back out west for fresh inspiration. Her lyrically charged compositions relate loosely outlined but powerfully illustrated stories with a wide variety of settings. Spending a year in Ireland helped establish her emphasis on colorful narration.

"Living, studying and playing (in Ireland) reiterated the need for a story to come through, as most Irish ballads tell a story," she explained.

Stylistically, Brauns had swallowed numerous comparisons from critics. Though often flattering, being equated to other artists steals from the unique quality of her work. Musical comparisons, like musical genres, can be limiting and odious. Suffice to say that she's a singer with a great voice, afflicted with reality and pain, but still gentle and resilient, and she's a songwriter with poetic, lyrical talent. There is a tension in her songs created by a sense of hope and strength that is submerged beneath, but is steadily rising through, a thick substrate of melancholy and mourning. The songs on her new CD are strong and the guitar and violin work is of high quality. If there's a criticism to be made, it's that there is little thematic variation musically. Though each song is enjoyable and thought-provoking, there is not one that surprises the listener by its contrast with the others.

Perhaps that contrast would be more evident in live performances, which she considers to be of greater importance than her CD. Recording in the studio she says, is "not anything compared with playing live." Only in the intimate atmosphere of a live performance can the Irish folk spirit be properly harnessed.

Her subject matter is diverse. Brauns spans the seasonal and geographical fluctuations of America in her 10-track album. Accusations of "heavy lyrics" should be considered a compliment rather then a criticism. People who want to hear songs about life sung lite need only to turn on the radio to be satisfied. The issues Brauns deals with are more complex and much more impressively articulated. "Backroads" deals in part with reactions to the World Trade Center bombing. "Percy Schmeiser" tells the story of a farmer battling the encroachment of corporate America on his land. "Bankrupt on Selling" critiques the inherent flaws of capitalism.

"The whole marriage of art and politics can be really effective. "Brauns says of her politically oriented writing. She has been involved in a number of protests but has found that music is a less intimidating device for bring issues to public attention.

But not all of her songs are political. And her poetry excels in descriptions of simple things. Describing an old high school friend, for example: "She road a motor bike and left skid marks on our high school lawn. She made her own scarf, stitched from florescent scraps of yarn."

Periphery also benefits from the production skills of Larry Crane, who has previously worked with such elite names as Elliot Smith and Sleater-Kinney. Crane started Tape Op Magazine, in which he has heavily praised Brauns' music.

Brauns is excited not only about her own contributions to the Seacoast music scene, but about any new band that emerges in the area. She recently started a Lakes Region Public Access show called the Coffeehouse, aimed at providing exposure for local artists and bands. She is aware of the importance of supporting the local music community, whether it be by performing, interviewing, or simply listening and watching. - The Wire

"Left of Center"

Laurel Brauns knows what is expected of her as a twenty-something female musician. And she knows that with her style of music, she's going to be automatically compared to Ani DiFranco. Unfortunately for the masses, Brauns neither writes the cliché lyrics of a 24-year old's struggle with relationships, and she doesn't think she sounds anything like DiFranco, although she thinks the compliment is nice.

But Brauns doesn't deny the fact that she has 24-year-old emotions.

"There's always a period of growth that I'm going through," she says about the differences among her four albums. "As an independent woman musician, it can get kind of complicated when I'm in relationships."

Her style, she says, attempts to find a union between folk and traditional rock.

"Rock lyrics tend to be more ambiguous. With folk, you're going to find more of a story and a theme."

Brauns, a New Hampshire native and a current resident of Portland, Ore. says that she likes to incorporate social commentary (like DiFranco) into her songs, while at the same time relating a story. She got her start as an indie-folk singer while living in Ireland. Brauns received a grant during college to study the political murals of West Belfast and Gerry -- murals that were of great significance to warring Protestants and Catholics. It was there that she began "busking" -- or becoming a street performer. She played her guitar on the sidewalks of Galway for anyone who would listen.

"There's something that happens, a physical reaction that happens, when I hear music," she says.

That passion carried her home, where she started to play her music in Boston bars, New England ski lodges and colleges across the country. She drew on her experiences for her lyrics, and the influence of artists like Tori Amos, P.J. Harvey, Bob Dylan and Tool. She soon released her first album, Swimming, while she attended Lewis and Clark College -- concentrating on folk rock and Celtic music.

With her family in New Hampshire, and her college in Oregon, Brauns started playing on both sides of the country. Now with a new album, Brauns is touring in the same fashion. She will begin her solo tour in Spokane with a free show at the Shop on Wednesday.

"Back there, they like the more traditional stuff that I do," she said of her East Coast audiences. "Out here, people are into hearing something different. So if do something weird, they are into it."

Her latest album, Periphery, is no exception. Brauns holds a different conversation with the listener during each track -- traversing among flying horses, plastic dolls, eating disorders and songs about past drug-addicted friends. In the last track, "Percy Schmeiser," Brauns talks about a canola farmer she met in Saskatchewan who had recently lost his farm to GMO monster Monsanto. She makes strong comments on the falling of the World Trade Center towers in her song "Backroads." In a press packet, the song is described as "a 'Star Spangled Banner' for the rest of us: the bike messengers and bellboys, the office temps and baristas, the dishwashers and cubicle-confined working stiffs."

Brauns chuckled at the description, saying that it wasn't her description -- but she thinks it's accurate.

"People took [Sept. 11] to be an excuse to be very patriotic and putting American flags on the back of their SUVs," she says. "It seemed like the mainstream had an unquestioning loyalty, instead of asking why something like that happened."

That attitude pervades all of her songs -- and she knows that, because of that, she isn't a mainstream artist. And that's exactly what she wants.

Periphery features her and a band of her friends -- a conglomeration of guitar, violin, cello, organ and mandolin. Brauns recorded the 10-track album at Portland's Jackpot! -- one of the city's most well known independent labels. Seeing the successes of other Northwest acts, Brauns partnered up with Larry Crane, an engineer who lent his hand in the past to Elliott Smith and Sleater-Kinney. - Northwest Inlander

"Review of Periphery"

The first I heard Laurel, she was recording in my friends which was actually a parlor off the living room, rigged up with some mics and a Pro-Tools setup. I had never heard her before, but immediately recognized the influence of Dar Williams.

Well, the years go by and, hopefully, we grow and change. Laurel has done just that. Her first album, Swimming, was good, but this release leaves the first far behind. Her guitar playing has improved. Her lyrics are more interesting. She's also employed the talent of players such as Anna Fritz on cello, Erica McGee on violin and Alison Ippolito on keys. Include recording by Larry Crane and mastering by Jeff Saltzman and you've got an all-star Portland production.

If, in 5 years, Laurel Brauns hasn't received critical acclaim from a number of national media outlets, I'll be surprised. Check out the strange cover of Modest Mouse on track 9. Fortunately, Laurel's version is much shorter and less bombastic then Isaac Brock's. In short, hipsters with interest in folk music with love this album. Tip a cold one and listen to Periphery. Laurel would be proud. - Music Liberation Project

"Review of Periphery"

Embellished with nice production touches such as plucked and staccato bowed strings and even a little choir, Laurel Brauns new CD, Periphery, nicely straddles the gap between emo and folk. For the most part, this is an acoustic singer-songwriter album with aspirations towards a tortured poetics of loss and strngth and rebirth. Brauns strong voice at times seems equal parts Ani DiFranco and Jewel, soaring and dipping and wringing emotion from even the clunkiest phrases. Though to be fair, clunky is the exception and not the rule here. The guitar playing is a clean combination of pick and strum that allows plenty of room for organ and mandolin to color the corners of a song like Cathedrals and to allow trumpet, piano and strings to do the same in a number like Backroads. Each song is basically an acoustic guitar and a voice and a few friends. A little heavy lyrically at times, the overall impression is of a thoughtfull, passionate and talented singer and songwriter. - Seven Days, Burlington VT

"Coop Brings Brauns"

by Shawn ONeal
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, ID, May 2004

Laurel Brauns isn't a high maintenance performer.

All she needs is a guitar, amplifier and her Subaru and she's a one-woman concert tour, coming to a coffeehouse, pub or park near you in support of her second compact disc, Periphery.

Brauns's lastest Palouse stop will be at the Moscow Food Co-op, where shell play a couple of sets for the store's Tuesday Night Music Series. By the time she gets there, shell probably be in the mood to chat. When she sets off on these tours - this one is a month long and takes her coast to coast - it s just Brauns, her guitar, amplifier and Subaru.

Its truly a solo tour.

It can get boring because there are a lot of long, flat drives in the midwest, she said from her car, pulled over on the side of an Interstate highway in Nebraska. But thats OK. I have lot's of books on tape.

And she can always listen to her own CD's, which have been the product of a good deal of sacrifice on Braunss part. Ther first one was typical enough. Brauns self-produced Swimming as a college student at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

It was a typical first release - high satisfaction, low risk and no finacial reward.

Brauns put herself out quite a bit more on periphery which is perhaps the perfect example of why she left her native New Hampshire for Portland. Brauns released the disc on her own label - Red Trail Records - but took a leap and worked with Larry Crane at Portlands Jackpot! studios.

Working with Crane gave Brauns instant street cred in Portland's spawling independent music scene. Crane has previously produced for the late Elliot Smith (Academy Award nomination for his work on Goodwill Hunting ) and the snarling chick-rock trio Sleater-Kinney.

If Brauns left with Cranes respect, she also took a large bill, which sent her off onto another long, strange trip. In order to pay for Periphery, Brauns spent three months in Alaska, waiting tables and playing clubs and coming back to sleep in a tent in Denali National Park.

It was aweome, she said. I had always wanted to go up there and the economy in Portland was bad and I just really needed to make a bunch of money. I had been recording and rehersing full time while I was making the disc, so I basically had no income. I lived in a tent and I didnt have a kitchen or anything like that, so it was weird, but I had fun.

She also and a surreal experience on her way to Denali.

I was getting chased by caribou, she said. I was really tired, so I couldn t tell if it was real or if I was hallucinating. Weird things happen to me all the time. Like last night I was drinking a beer at a bar in Omaha and got in the middle of a conversation with two military buddies, both with each other about the war, not what I was expecting from the city that is home to Saddle Creek (Records).

As for how Brauns is different from anyother female-with-guitar soloist, she hopes she brings more brains into the equation. One of the songs off Periphery is a tune about a Canadian farmer's court battle with a corporate giant. Shes working on a documentary about Percy Schmeiser and said songs of that nature make her different from the flock of similar artists.

It s not just me whining about losing my boyfriend. Brauns said with a gigle. I think my songs are pretty well thought out.

These might be Brauns last solo gigs. She wants to put together a backing band and evenutally sign with an indie label so she can entrust the day-to day business to somebody else and concentrate on her music and other interests.

But all this solo stuff helps, she said. I'm making all kinds of connections... - Moscow-Pullman Daily News

"Review of Swimming"

Heavenly and haunted, the voice of Laurel Brauns bursts in Swimming like a ghost off the moors. Combining Irish and American folk traditions in otherworldly ballads, Brauns had crafted an utterly captivating 10-song collection. Ther pervaiding melancholdy of the Celtic balladry swirls through even the more upbeats songs like "Stranger," which call to mind currently college pop as well as the lilting melodies of Dar Williams and Rickie Lee Jones.

Although several songs are adorned with excellent instrumentation, Brauns is at her most powerful and accompanied by only a guitar and perhaps cello or ullieann pipes. The her voice and her slithering melodies become and arresting powerful force. - Performing Songwriter

"Finding Truth on the Road"

by Melissa Bearns

Most musicians like to stop and give an interview from the calm of a hotel room. Not Laurel Brauns. Often on the move, she believes recording is more important then recording. So she's on the road a lot. When I caught up with her, she was driving with her cello player to their next gig, somewhere between Milwaukee and some random little town in Illinois.

After years of playing in podunk towns across the country, people finally know her name. Her voice is clear like a wind chime, multilayered like a symphony, and as rich as the memory of one of her song's characters, Percy Schmeiser, a Canadian farmer who tilled the soil growing canola for fifty years.

Last summer she lived in a tend in Alaska's Denali Park waiting tables and playing at the local bar to pay off the debt she racked up producing her newest album Periphery, released on her label, Red Trail Records. She recorded her first album Swimming, in a basement, and the song quality on Periphery is a huge step up.

The professional recording does wonders for capturing the subtle nuances of her haunting melodies and lyrics that dig into the heart of America while intertwining the influences of Irish ballads. The improvements are also due to influence of her producer Larry Crane, who other clients include Elliott Smith and Sleater-Kinney.

With her current home base in Portland and her family in New Hampshire (she spends winters teaching snowboarding), she's traversed the country gathering inspiration and funneling it into her music.

"Take Alaska, it's inspired me because it changed my life," she said. "I had to grow up. It was a stressful situation. Some great songs with come out of it as soon as I get sometime to sit down and write them."

Logging thousands of miles on the road, it's out there some where that she meets her characters and then gives you, the listener, a little peek into their stories. Her words could stand alone as poetry but combined with sometimes wistful, sometimes exuberant, flowing melodies, they're redolent of the air in a coffee shop in Anytown, USA -- thoughtful, tasty, and deep. She puts you right out there in the cornfield under the wide-open skies and through the stories of individuals, she brushes against universal human questions and truth.

On Periphery she's backed by the band Queen Anne's Lace, formed specifically to record the album and also to play around Portland. She follows the tradition of some great female artists and if you like Ani, Jewel, Sarah or Tori don't miss this show Brauns is as good, if not better. She's got a sound and style all her own and never stoops to whiney wailing. - The Source, Bend, OR

"Local Spotlight: Laurel Brauns"

"All the people you knew were the actors," sings Laurel Brauns during her rendition of Isaac Brock's (Modest Mouse) song "Bankrupt on Selling." This tune appears on Brauns' album "Periphery," her 2003 release on Red Trail Records. Brauns' intricately detailed album is a collection of sounds and tales that conjure feelings and images like a movie all about life. All the people you know- your friends, family, acquaintances, enemies- are the actors in this production. Brauns does a superb job of laying out the framework for a storyline that you can most definitely find yourself in, with lyrics so carefully chosen they read like a script.

"I love folk music. I grew up with my parents playing it around the house all the time," Brauns said in a recent interview. "However, I wanted to do more with the style beyond merely telling a story. I want the listener to be able to pick up on subtle, yet deliberate, pieces of evidence that suggest that there is something more to these songs, these stories. I try to create something a little more cinematic."

If anybody can pull this off, Brauns can. She's a well-traveled musician who has spent time on the East Coast (she was raised in Gilford, New Hampshire and now resides in Portsmouth) and the West Coast while she attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She attended the National University of Ireland and lived in a tent in Alaska while working and playing at a local pub to pay off the recording of "Periphery." All of these places were inspiration for her music. I love New Hampshire!" Brauns said. "There wasn't a whole lot going on up north in the Gilford area, so I would peruse around in the woods, which helped me develop a real love for the outdoors. I had a hard time finding out who I was and where I was headed, so I decided that it was time to move.

Of her experiences in Ireland, she said, "I stayed in Ireland for a year and got a good feel for Celtic culture and how they display emotion and story through music. I like to think that I display that same passion when I play out."

It's when Brauns hit the West Coast that she honed in on her individual style, learning from local musicians and eventually recording her album "Periphery" at Jackpot! Studios. The album was co-produced by Larry Crane, who has worked with Elliott Smith, Sleater-Kinney and The Decemberists.

The music and lyrics on "Periphery" are powerful, imaginative and thought provoking. The album has an indie-folk/celtic vibe. The song lyrics tell stories of every day life as well as delving into politics, like on the song "Backroads." Despite the overall folk-feel to the album, Brauns includes a sultry jazz tune called "Glass Shoes." Upon your first experience of listening to it, you'll become immediately infatuated with the lush finger picking at which Brauns excels. Brauns' unparalleled guitar playing, along with Erica McGee on violin and Anna Fritz on cello, creates some beautiful instrumentals that are only part of what makes this album incredible. The other integral piece to "Periphery" is Brauns' voice that projects the words that are so carefully crafted you are immediately drawn in and trapped in the frame Brauns has created for you. It's hard to describe exactly how the words grab you, but it's evident that they are full of passion.

The lyrics to the title track of the album ("I know your whole life story, chapters one through nine/ There'll be a quiz later to see if you read mine/ And they fail, they fail, they fail every time") suggest that the actors in Brauns' life have not been as good to her as they probably should've been. It's in lyrics like these that people can make connections, nod their head and claim, "I know where she's coming from." The ability to reach out and touch people is a reward that many musicians take to heart.

Brauns is no exception. The ideal show is when she can connect with one or two people in the audience and keep in contact with them afterwards. This would explain why she is so well received when she plays and why she has so many friends in the local industry, as well as a large fan base. In fact, upon being asked whom she would most like to play with (alive or dead) she simply smiled and claimed, "I've already played with them and will continue to do so whenever the chance arises," referring to her fans.

I highly suggest that you get out and check in on the "Hush Hush Sweet Harlot" music series that Brauns organizes and books every Monday night from 8-11p.m. at the Red Door in Portsmouth. This Monday, April 4, she'll be taking the stage herself with her band The Scarlet Letters with whom she'll be recording a new album this summer (slated for a fall release) and touring with along the East Coast. The band includes Travis Commeau and Todd Kramer of Mistaken for the Gifted and Jim Rudolf of Texas Governor. Brauns is also looking for competent string players and is open to inquiries from anybody interested here on campus. You can fi - The New Hampshire, UNH Student Newspaper


Closed for the Season (2007) produced by Jon Nolan
Periphery (2003) co-produced by Larry Crane
Swimming (2001)



"She has, like Erin McKeown, a voice that knocks you over with a little bit of carnival mania. Or maybe she’s like Regina Spektor, with a range that’s wonderful, but full of angles, jagged edges, nooks and crannies. You can live inside of that voice."
Sam Pfeifle - Portland Phoenix

"New Hampshire native has released two striking albums that showcase a soaring voice with claws like Kristen Hersh." - Chris Dahlen, Pitchfork
"Definitely one of the strongest efforts I've worked on this past year - elegantly arranged mondern folk/pop with a dash of 70's songwriters influence..."
-Jeff Salzman - Producer (Stephen Malkmus, The Standard)

Shared the Stage With:
Matt Pond PA, The Wood Brothers, Greg Brown, Geoff Farina, Patty Larkin, Matt Costa, Tara Jane O'Neil, Winterpills, Tom Brosseau, Reclinerland, Rose Polenzani, Casey Deinel, Jason Anderson, Barn Burning, Elivis Perkins, Peter Mulvey, Mike Merenda & Ruth Ungar (The Mammals), Tigersaw, The Hotel Alexis, Grace Potter, Hot Buttered Rum, The Willard Grant Conspiracy

Notable Venues:
The Music Hall, Portsmouth, NH
Capitol Center for the Arts, Concord, NH
Palace Theater, Manchester, NH
Higher Ground, Burlington, VT
The Space, Portland, ME
TT the Bear's Place, Cambridge, MA
AS220, Providence, RI
The Red Door, Portsmouth, NH
Pete's Candy Store, Brooklyn, NY

Since 2001, Laurel has played 100's of University performances:
Phillips Exeter Academy * College of the Atlantic * Unity College * Bates College * University of Bridgeport * Daniel Webster College * McIntosh College * Worcester Polytech * MIT * St. Michael’s College * Johnson State University * University of Vermont * University of New Hamphshire * Brewster Academy * Northfield Mount Hermon * Simon’s Rock College of Bard * Wheaton College * Lewis & Clark College * Portland State University * Willamette University * North Idaho College * University of Idaho * Spokane Community College * Gonzaga University * Dartmouth College * St. Lawrence University * Colby College * University of New England * Montana State University * University of Denver * St. Joseph’s College of Maine * Tilton School * McIntosh College * University of Southern Vermont * Plymouth State University * Hesser College * University of Maine * Babson College * Northwest College * Massachusetts Institute of Technology * Williams College * Keene State College * Hampshire College * Milton Academy * Middlebury College * Green Mountain College * New Hampshire Community Technical College * Mount Holyoke Community College * Lesley College

Festivals and Conferences:
In 2006 Laurel was choosen to showcase for NEMO in Boston. In 2005 she was an alternate at the NACA West Conference in Portland, OR and at the Rockrgrl Conference in Seattle, WA. She has performed at NxNW in Portland and the Talkeetna Bluegrass Festival in Alaska.

Other Accomplishments:
*Featured on NHPR's The Front Porch
and NHPR's The Folk Show with Kate McNally

*Producer and host of fifteen episodes of the TV Show "The Coffeehouse" that aired on NH Public Access and featured indie bands and artists from New England

*Emcee of the Hush Hush Sweet Harlot quiet rock music series at the Red Door in Portsmouth, NH. The Monday night series often sells out and has been written up by Chris Dahlen in the Portland Phoenix as well as

Full Bio:
Laurel is from a small town in central New Hampshire. This background has instilled in her an obsessive love of the outdoors, and a healthy hatred of vinyl siding and SUVs. For a short time she was a member of the Gunstock Parish Militia, an organization formed to ward off encroaching developers and suburbanites from out of state, but the group soon abandoned monkey-wrenching for drinking, and became a loose association renamed Lovers of Schlitz, or LOS for short.

Laurel is a singer/songwriter whose work ranges from indie americana to quiet rock. She did not sing in a punk band before getting in touch with her sensitive side. She was a trad-music geek in high school, and spent much of her time learning obscure Celtic ballads and raucous Pogues songs. After high school, she lived in Ireland, busking on the street and joining sessions in pubs.

During college in Portland, Oregon, she formed a number of duos and trios, the most popular of which was Queen Anne's Lace, featuring Anna Fritz on cello and Erica McGee on violin. She did her senior thesis on indie labels of the Pacific Northwest such as K Records, Kill Rock Stars, and Sub Pop, then started her own label after graduating. Laurel's first album, recorded in friends' apartments, has sold 2,000 copies and received reviews in Performing Songwriter and other national media outlets. Her second release, Periphery, was recorded and co-produced by Larry Crane at Jackpot! Studios (Elliott Smith, The Decemberists). Jeff Saltzman (producer Stephen Malkmus) mastered the album and hailed it as “elegantly arranged modern/folk pop” and “o