Singer/songwriter Laura Gibson’s life is at a crossroads. Originally from Portland, Gibson has been releasing albums since her 2006 debut If You Come to Meet Me (Hush Records). These days she’s on Barsuk/City Slang and lives in NYC where she studied to be a fiction writer. In fact, her new album, Empire Builder, which came out in April, was inspired by the name of the Amtrak route she took while crossing the country to her new home (and bears a resemblance to a certain Simon and Garfunkel song about a couple lost in America). But shortly after she arrived, her East Village apartment burned to the ground, an experience that “will continue to be, something that shapes me for the rest of my life. I cannot separate that experience from these songs,” she said.
There is a haunting poise to Empire Builder, a solemn intimacy that’s warm and pleasant and heartfelt. Contributors on the album include members of Death Cab for Cutie, Decemberists and Neko Case’s band, an artist whose style her music most resembles.
We asked Gibson to take our Ten Questions survey, and she obliged:
What is your favorite album?
Laura Gibson: Songs of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen
2. What is your least favorite song?
There’s a song that keeps playing at my gym that says something like, “Girl you’re beautiful because you don’t know you’re beautiful.” I don’t know its name, but I hate it.
3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?
Getting to meet and connect with people all over the world.
4. What do you hate about being in a band?
Being away from home so often.
5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?
Tie between coffee and wine.
6. In what city or town do you love to perform?
New York; Spring Green, Wisconsin; tiny German towns.
7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?
I had a few rough SXSW shows in Austin, but they’ve became pleasant/comedic in memory. Bad shows always make for good stories.
8. How do you pay your bills?
Music: a combination of tour income, royalties and licensing for film and commercials.
9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?
I would like to write novels and I would like to do some sort of social justice advocacy work. I would be terrible at law enforcement.
10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?
There is such an incredible music community in Omaha, so I feel like I’ve gotten to know it through song. I’ve heard stories of tornado alerts (but no actual tornado stories).
Laura Gibson opens for David Bazan Tuesday, July 2,1 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $15. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.