Laura Gibson gathered a group of musical friends and turned Oregon’s Smith Rock into a recording studio for a day, incorporating the unique acoustics of the cliffs, caves and water ways, resulting in a surprising, inspired take on the old spiritual “Down By The Riverside”. The video and the song premiered on Pitchfork Monday, October 22nd. The production is the third in a series of River Song Covers sponsored by Deschutes Brewery, which also includes Blitzen Trapper’s Eric Earley singing “Up The Cripple Creek”, and Eric D. Johnson of the Fruit Bats covering “The Ballad of Easy Rider”. All proceeds will benefit the Deschutes River Conservancy.
An unreleased Laura Gibson song, “The Carob Trees,” was picked today as NPR’s Song Of The Day.
‘”The Carob Trees” came after a visit to my friend Raul’s family home in the countryside near Valencia, Spain. The house and land had been in his family for many generations. Raul told stories of trapping quail and collecting olives when he was a child, of his parents stomping grapes into wine. Raul’s great grandfather collected stones to build terraces up the hillside in order to plant trees on the land. There were olive trees and almond trees, and then also a type of tree that wasn’t familiar to me. Raul didn’t know the English word, and didn’t know the Spanish word. Finally, after he called it “poor man’s chocolate” I realized they were carob trees. I was thinking of all the generations who spent time under those trees, and how we move forward in time and in relationships, both within and also outside of our own will. Thinking of will in relationships, and of trees, and of lineage, I was reminded of the story of Adam and Eve. The narrator in the song became a mix of Eve, of Raul’s great great great grandparents, and of myself.
Back home one day, I had been singing the refrain melody in the living room, and my boyfriend and sometimes musical collaborator Sean (Sean Ogilvie of the band Musée Mécanique) sat down at the piano and began playing and whistling the counter-melody, perfectly embodying the other character in the story. The song didn’t quite fit among the songs on my La Grande record, but it is really dear to me, and I’m really happy to share it now.’