Laura Gibson at Her Finest on “Empire Builder”

Laura Gibson

By Emma Cohen of Indie Band Guru

Laura Gibson is an impressively prolific Oregonian indie folk artist. Her latest album is a breathe of fresh air, especially for me and my normally hectic life.

Like her past work — all six of her albums — Empire Builder is as sweet as a stream, but not without little rough patches in the current.

This latest was released on April 1 and has been gaining traction. Her soft, delicate tone and mellow vocals complement the light use of instruments and subtle variation of the chord progressions. Empire Builder includes 10 original pieces that all share similar qualities.

Laura Gibson at Her Best

All of her best qualities come together on the track “Not Harmless.” Its slow pace and lack of crescendo almost lulled me into a different mood. The entire song is an ode to the more pensive emotions. I especially loved the darker chords on the guitar marrying with the soprano of her voice. On a completely different note, the lyrics spoke to me on a more poetic level, as they could be read alone and sound just as beautiful.


Contrasting the prior song, the song “Louis” is soft and sweet. To be honest, it is beautiful enough to make me smile just from listening.

The subtle hints of a male voice added a nice element to it, making the song more romantic than longing. With the barely there guitar, this gave the song a naked emotional feel. It made me feel like floating, there was something so innocent and charming about the whole melody. It is, in my opinion, the best song on the album — it showcases everything which makes Gibson so attractive to listeners in the first place.

Laura Gibson’s Empire Builder is simply blissful. It feels like getting a massage though your ear canals. I cannot name one negative on the album. No matter your ills, this is the medicine.