Credit to English folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling then for managing the feat.
Laura took to the stage at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to open ‘Celtic Connections’, an annual festival bringing eclectic and impressive acts from across Scotland and around the world to Glasgow.
The supports showed the range of variation and talent to expect through the festival – with artists ranging from Saharawi singer and percussionist Aziza Brahim to Irish songwriter Declan O’Rourke and the pick of the pre-Marling entertainment Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys, an immensely talented Michigan-based quartet playing bluegrass instruments with irresistible rhythm and melodies.
It was clear from Laura’s opening number though exactly why she had earned the right to headline such an impressive bill.
An extended rendition of 2013 track ‘I Was An Eagle’ made for the perfect introduction. Marling’s vocals rung around the Concert Hall with a drifting effervescence, the Scottish Symphony Orchestra adding an extra air of majesty whenever the soundtrack called for it.
Of course, Marling has always stood out for her lyrical talents as much as her music. She writes with optimistic realism through pensive narratives; a breath of fresh air in an era where bulk-pop writing has spawned a generic, tiring template for much mainstream music.
Truth be told, Laura could have slotted in just as well if you whizzed her back a few decades. Her lyrics send the mind back to Dylan and Cohen. Fitting then, that she should cover a song by the latter on the night. Cohen’s ‘Avalanche’ was a welcome addition, given a slightly slower, perkier edge by Marling’s vocals but maintaining its raw force.
Laura silenced the band to go solo for her final number and latest single ‘Wild Fire’. The song features an easy-listen melody that boasts bold lyrics taking the listener on a windswept hunt for place and identity.
Like the best of Marling’s work it relies on minimalistic, careful instrumental work and reflective lyrics; something that comes through as well on the live stage as it does on the records.