There's a special kind of spring that I believe only happens in Portland, the super-green spring that saturates everything and, in more than one way, could only be produced by our rainy winter season. All you can do is go with it, breathe deeply, and soak up every little bit of this season.
Laura Gibson knows this feeling. It permeates her every move; her every finger-picked, simple-but-not-too-simple acoustic guitar phrase; and her smiling, nodding, and polite demeanor. She reflects our spirit of community too, as her live band includes members of fellow local powerhouse Horse Feathers, while her album's (last year's If You Come to Greet Me) backing band was made up of members from Norfolk and Western. It's another microcosm of the way folks live, love, and—as she sings in "Small Town Parade"—the way people "laugh at how I always told you life could be."
It strikes me that, for a debut album, If You Come rewards headphone listening in a way that ordinarily only far more dense albums normally would. Gibson demands this sort of listening for the subtlety involved in her sound. You just don't want to miss any pause, any slightly slowed phrase, or any breath, as beauty like this rarely feels so important.
"We could wait around, could watch the shadows change/And just as sure as the days grow short/Somehow we're always waiting," she sings on "Wintering," which I suppose shoots my spring theory to hell, doesn't it? Tonight's show will certainly feel as hushed and beautiful as that one token day a year when Portland really feels like winter—as buses get stuck in the snow and everyone marvels at the wonder and ease of a slowed-down city—in a way that Laura always told you life could be.