Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Tonight, I'm just wondering about a handful of things thanks to Laura Gibson, this wonderful songwriter and woman from Oregon whom we've known for a number of years now. Though it doesn't make much sense, she seems to write like a forest grows, like a campfire starts. You can dissect that however you'd like, but she taps into the very properties that make a place feel homey, and a person feel like you might still want to know them when you're 80 years old and can barely move around anymore. She IS that person that you want to still know when you're all wrinkly and all you can manage to do is sip tea and coffee, read books and burn out the last remaining days that you've got going for you. She sings the way a kitchen that's been cooked in all afternoon smells. It's inviting and lovely and altogether satisfying.
She sings about a Spartan sort of attitude toward life, when she sings, "If you're drawn to the flame/Be not afraid of the fire." It might as well just be the Nike motto and there's nothing wrong with that. It reminds me of an old episode of "Bonanza" that was on a rerun channel around lunchtime today, where a woman who was being held captive by an outlaw was reasoning with a fellow captive about what she was looking for out of her husband, a weak-looking, thin-mustached kind of a man - someone who didn't belong in the Wild West, but writing novels or designing fine menswear. She didn't care if he got hurt or killed. She just wanted him to fight for her. She wanted him to be a man, for himself - to not chicken out and to just go head-long for something that he loved.
Gibson seems to go head-long for the things and the sentiments that she loves, or those that she longs for. With this new sets of recordings - pulled together from two different visits - she has me thinking about the following:
-- how many coyotes she's ever seen
-- how many wolves she's ever seen
-- I wonder what they spoke about when they did run into one another
-- how many sweaters she has
-- how many of the unknown number of sweaters might have been made by a grandmother or aunt
-- what the total duration of fire light one single pack of matches could create
-- how many times Gibson's slept out under the moon
-- whether or not she's ever tested a single pack of matches on one of those nights
-- believing that she probably has
Laura Gibson Official Site