“Albert” – Ed Laurie
Wow. Warm and wondrous neo-folk from a young British singer/songwriter. Listen to the stirring tension in the verse–the song is quiet, but with a restless heartbeat–and then how it resolves in that gorgeous chorus with its shy, unexpected melody. Oh my. For me, this is goosebump material, and I don’t say that lightly, or very often.
Although he is basically a guy with a guitar, Laurie does not sound like a typical singer/songwriter, both because of his husky baritone, with its air of bygone days about it, and because the guitar he plays is nylon-stringed, like a flamenco guitar, which he plays with a gentle but urgent flow, full of intimations of far-away times and cultures. He plays, also, with an ear for his accompaniment, which is a quiet and knowing mix of acoustic instruments, including a clarinet, which in particular feels both unexpected and ideal.
Laurie claims influences from a variety of musical traditions–born in London, he has extended family in Eastern Europe, Germany, Spain, and Brazil, and grew up listening to classical music. His press material offers comparisons to the likes of Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, and Jacques Brel, which sounds about right to me. “Albert” is from Laurie’s debut EP, Meanwhile in the Park, which was previously released on iTunes only and is slated for a full U.S. release on Dangerbird Records in October. Laurie is currently working on his first full-length album, to be called Small Boat Big Sea.