You Sing, I Write: Album Review: Laura Meyer's "Miles From Nowhere"

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Album Review: Laura Meyer's "Miles From Nowhere"

Laura Meyer's Twitter bio describes her best: Globe-trekking folk-rock poet. The New York-based folk-rock artist recently completed a 38-day, 34-show tour across the US and will be back on the road in early December. It seems the tour bus is truly her home and she's at ease at any locale — whether it's performing in Dublin for over 10,000 fans at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival or in New York at the intimate Rockwood Music Hall.

It is perhaps no wonder that Meyer's latest release, Miles From Nowhere was inspired by her time spent on the road. The 20-track album takes the listener on a journey throughout the 40,000 miles Meyer has traveled. With detailed scenic description and continuous alliteration, Miles From Nowhere grabs the listener's ear and takes him to a new destination.

It's not often that an artist can transport the listener to another time and place, but on Miles From Nowhere, Meyer succeeds. Whether she is singing about New Orleans on the rustic opening track, "Katrina, Katrina" or her beloved home on the colorful "Back In New York," each song is distinctly different from the previous.

An old soul, it is easy to envision Meyer performing at folk festivals, for it is her lyrics that stand out most. The way she imparts constant emotion and vivid imagery throughout each track is remarkable, bringing to mind Joni Mitchell with her vocals and distinctive guitar style. Additionally, the occasional angst shown in edgier tracks like "Miles From Nowhere" and "Chelsea Hotel" exemplifies Alanis Morissette circa her Jagged Little Pill era.

Miles From Nowhere progresses naturally from song to song, despite obvious differences in tone throughout each new track. The softer "Katrina, Katrina" transforms into the edgy title track extremely well while the dark and somber "Chelsea Hotel" and it's faster guitar picking segues equally fittingly into the love story of "New York, New York."

Recorded in one session, Miles From Nowhere alternates solely between acoustic and electric guitar and Meyer on vocals. The album is simple, and not overproduced. In fact, it's as if you're receiving a private concert by Meyer in your living room. Her songs are incredibly honest as she opens up her diary to the world. "I trust the universe takes care of me/But sometimes my trust is just so hard to believe," she sings on "Night Drive."

Much of the album deals with the uncertainty of love. "The Ocean" embodies a spoken word segment on love and is a welcomed change while "New York, New York" speaks of the uncertainty in relationships. "I've always felt like New York is a yo-yo/Tied round my finger I can't throw her away/But now I see after coming and going/New York's the only one who ever stays/I'm just the toy in her hand/Like a boy who thinks that he's a man/I'm just the toy in her hand/She throws me away and I go back again and again/I've always felt like love is for strangers/Soon as you know it, it goes away/I've tried to love him despite the danger/And in the end only love remained," she sings.

Whether it's her intricate finger picking or moving lyrics, Meyer is one folk-artist who deserves your attention. Visit her Web site and if you like what you hear, be sure to catch her on tour in December and January.

Recommended: For fans of Norah Jones, Joni Mitchell, Ingrid Michaelson.

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