Portland-based singer/songwriter Laura Gibson seems destined to have one of her charming tunes used in an Apple ad campaign. You’ll know why when you hear her strum through the songs from her If You Come To Greet Me (Hush), opening for Colin Meloy at the Phoenix, Saturday (April 19) at 6 pm. $20. 416-870-8000.
Your album appears to be about growing up in a small town. Was it inspired by your own childhood?
When my sister and brother-in-law were moving back to Coquille, Oregon, for a month to help out my mom, I joined them. I hadn’t spent any time in my hometown since the summer after my freshman year of college, so I got to reconnect with the place and the people. I noticed some strange things, like how the whistle at the lumber mill still blows three times a day even though the mill was shut down years ago. A parade and a lot of other small-town stuff happening there inspired my songwriting and helped set the tone for the album.
How did you convince the members of Norfolk & Western to serve as your backing band?
Norfolk & Western’s Dusk In Cold Parlours is one of my favourite albums ever. I sent Norfolk’s Adam Selzer an e-mail asking if he’d consider helping me record some songs. Once he heard my demo, we met for a coffee and he said he would do it.
Why did you choose blues numbers associated with Blind Lemon Jefferson, Furry Lewis and Mance Lipscomb for the Six White Horses recording?
I’m in between albums right now and wanted to have something else I could offer people at shows. Also, I’ve been taking guitar lessons, and learning these old blues songs has been a real challenge, so I decided to record a few and release them on the Six White Horses EP while I figure out what I’m gonna do on my next album.
Why a musical saw on your recordings?
There’s just something about the sound of a saw that I really like. There’s nothing else quite like it, other than maybe a theremin. And I’ve been working with a theremin lately, so there may be some of that on my next album. My other new instrument is the thumb piano.
Ever been approached about using your music in commercials?
No, no one’s ever approached me about that. But have you seen those new Mac commercials? There’s one that uses something very similar to my song Hands In Pockets. It’s interesting.