For an artist who is anything but, Laura Marling has often been cliched in the media as an ‘old soul’ and although true for any artist who writes highly personal and confessional pieces, Marling’s work has tended to use her intimate feelings as a vehicle to explore wider social topics rather than purely focus on herself.
Touring her latest 6th album Semper Femina, itself a soulful meditation on the rather large topic of womanhood, Marling is no longer the 18-year-old newcomer who broke out with ‘Alas, I cannot swim’ but a fast becoming musical icon with several awards, 6 albums and several hundred of thousands of record sales to her name.
Owner of a blissfully soulful live voice, and an intimate finger-picking style of guitar playing, Marling brought her poetic and perfectly presented blend of songwriting for an intimate show at Stockton’s Arc. Originally conceived as an album to be written in the male perspective about observing women, Semper Femina became Marling’s observation of femininity through the lens of a woman; a concept which becomes more prevalent in the context of her solo performance.
Softer and more tender than previous performances, perhaps owing something to the intimate setting, or performing solo, Marling appears vulnerable in parts of the show; a characteristic perhaps rarely seen from her live. Vulnerable or not though a Marling live show is always thought provoking, enjoyable and full of strong songs. Perhaps tonight we’ve had the added benefit of believing we know the author of the songs a little more than she usually let’s us see.