Date: Saturday 18 April 2015
Laura Meyer – Alternative
Following an eleven-month tour across the US a seasoned folk artist circled back to Santa Cruz to process the career highs and spiritual lows of the previous year. Highs included winning the Solo Blues Competition at Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, performing alongside Jim James & Gary Clark, Jr., and reaching her largest audiences to date.
However lows tend to linger longer and into that cliffside cottage she carried the weight of a land divided by political billboards, suffocated by industry, and pillaged by greed. Having already gained a reputation for blunt, unapologetic songwriting with Occupy-inspired Golden Delicious, described as “illuminating,” by Eugene Weekly, she turned to her travel notes and in January 2014 she compiled the songs for RISE UP!
Recorded in an Oregon farmhouse with Brady Greig and Dusty Hanes (Mudpuppy), the album ignites with “Genius,” an anthemic rocker that spits: “I am not a genius but that don’t mean that I’m stupid/It don’t mean that all I’m good for is working and consuming.” From there “Connect” and “Acedia” conjure the numbing isolation of digital life and depression before tempers flare on“State of America” and “Tide’s Coming In,” a karmic whirlwind that draws parallels between WWII, Fukushima fallout, Christopher Columbus, 9/11, slavery, immigration, and other ghosts of US history. “My hands are only as clean as the water with which I wash,” she sings, “I can scrub ‘til I bleed still some stains just ain’t coming off.”
Production provides buoyancy as songs shift from punk to folk to blues like an early 90s mixtape. The morbidly seductive “Isis Melting” features Dave Clark on gritty harmonica and a scathing RL Burnside-esque “Great Whites” confronts racial profiling. After a quiet instrumental written for the late drummer Broughty Cole morale takes a turn on “Too Good For A Bad Man,” and “Break” encourages us to rise up à la Foo.
“Golden Tree” brings the album full-circle with vibrant 70s rock that reinforces that all answers are found within. “We need a genius but we don’t know where to find one/We need a genius but there’s no one here but us.”