A Lesson In Less Is More – The Beauty In Sparseness

This week we take a second look at a broadcast/podcast we originally aired last year. It was a pairing that turned out to be a gem, and we thought it might be nice to let it roll through our fingers once more. While both of this week’s artist’s origins are separated by a giant expanse of water, they both find musical grounding in the subtleties and nuances of using space and emptiness as a member or instrument in the band.

DSC_5487-Edit-EditFirst up, Laura Marling makes her first visit to eTown to share songs spanning her last five albums, as well as a wisely chosen Townes Van Zandt cover that had our taping audience on pins and needles on account of it’s beauty. (See the video for “Colorado Girl” below) There aren’t many distractions in Laura’s music, and that is the way it should be with her. Her voice is unique and captivating, and the space she leaves between her lyrics and guitar playing really reel you in.

DSC_5566Also with us is singer/songwriter Matthew Houck who performs under the moniker Phosphorescent. I enjoyed getting to know Matthew while he was with us. We share a lot of the same roots, and it is always cool to see where those initial roads can take people. Matthew is originally from Alabama (where I lived for several years) and got his musical start in Athens, Georgia (another town I played music in quite a bit in my 20’s). When I was a kid, Athens, Georgia was the musical mecca of the south. Countless bands were sprouting there, and growing into legendary musical groups. It’s a cool town, and I wasn’t surprised to learn that Matthew got things going there. I could hear the town buried in some of his music. Much like Laura Marling, Matthew’s music is sparse and beautiful, and translates well no matter how he chooses to interpret it instrumentally on any given performance. Nick, Helen and the eTones join him for a beautiful rendition of his tune “Song For Zula” that you can check out in the video links below. Great stuff!

award shot for blogLots of great music and conversation with these two artists this week, plus an inspiring eChievement Award story about a woman who came up with a simple way to help AIDS-affected families in Tanzania – All in this week’s broadcast/podcast.

Be sure to listen, watch and come back again next week!


– Zack