Anna Elizabeth Laube
A Captivating Career Retrospective Plus a Couple of Unmissable Rarities.
With only four albums to show for a career that has spanned nigh on twenty years, this retrospective is quite startling in the quality of Ms. Laube’s songwriting and singing right from very first song, Sweet Boy From Minnesota.
Taken from the 2015 album Anna Laube, we are swept along the charming side of Country that we would normally associate with Nanci Griffith, Laura Cantrell or perhaps even Linda Ronstadt; and it’s fair to say Anna stands shoulder to shoulder with all three of those icons of my record collection.
What a way to start a Collection!
The mood drops somewhat for Track #II, Tom Petty’s Time To Move On; a haunting slow burner with only a piano and French Horn as backing. If you’re already a fan of Anna’s; this song is worth the entrance fee alone, and if you’re new to the songwriter, you will instantly be as smitten as I am.
The songs flit carelessly between Anna’s three albums and like that previous song, there are a couple of rarities thrown in too…… and while there’s an element of ‘moving on’ in direction; Anna Elizabeth Laube’s pearlescent voice and insightful songwriting weave a golden thread that pulls everything together as ‘one’.
Of the songs I know from the 2016 album TREE, Please Let It Rain in California Tonight and the title track Tree, itself still sound extraordinary in the way Anna captures your imagination with her words and music in a way I still haven’t heard since the first time I heard Joni’s BLUE many moons ago and Sunny Days is the perfect lead into a new song to me, Hippie Boyfriend with its San Francisco circa ’68 vibe.
With the divergent songs and tunes on offer I can only imagine an Anna Elizabeth Laube concert will be quite the event, with All My Running, If You Build It and I’m Gone being completely different in theme and construction; but sure to be highlights.
When you come back to this album for the second or third time, you will also get the feeling that Anna has been quite brave with her changes of direction throughout her career. Even the earlier acoustic based Singer-songwriter fayre aren’t always ‘obvious’ in the way many of her contemporaries would build a song; with Already There being a prime example. But that theory is even more prescient with the previously unreleased song Jardim de Estrela, with her now breathy vocals over an almost Classical guitar and accordion that wouldn’t be out of place on a Tom Russell song.
For a Favourite Track I’ve deliberately missed the songs from TREE, and gone for something new that has a) surprised me and b) stuck with me days after first hearing it/them.
Beautiful Boy from OUTTA MY HEAD, is the type of quirky yet lovely song that I love from singer-songwriters, a toe-tapping tune, slick acoustic guitar and words and melody that stick around and come back when you’re least expecting it.
The other is Oh My! (Oh Me Oh Me Oh My); a real oddity here, featuring the legendary Chuck Leavell on organ btw; and is a bit of a Big Easy Honky Tonker that will make you want to shuffle your feet and shake your hind end, as Anna enters into unchartered Maria Muldaur territory and comes out the other side totally unscathed.
With no discernible ‘hits’ to speak of, releasing a Career Retrospective’ may seem odd; but these songs represent 15 years or more of hard work; perhaps now is the time; and hopefully a stepping stone to Part II of a remarkable career.
Released 22nd January 2021
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
Download & Stream only ……. and you should know which one makes the most sense!!!