Interview by Scott Preston
Photos by Cooper Carras
Anna Laube’s (pronounced “Lau” like “how” and “be” like “to be or not to be”) pan-genre (country/blues/Americana/indie) folk music is, in the words of one her critics, “Acoustic, atmospheric, wide open, and western. Dirt covered highways and the setting sun” (CDReviews.com). It’s simple and relaxed, derived as much from the American folk-troubadour tradition as it is from neo-indie-folkies like Ani Difranco and Cat Power.
Born in Iowa City, IA, a place replete with roots musicians, Anna began taking classical piano lessons at age three, and later studied some boogie woogie tunes with David Zollo (Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, Todd Snider). She took up saxophone, oboe and violin in secondary school, and after moving to Madison, WI, picked up the guitar at age 14 after hearing a rendition of The Indigo Girls’ song, “Ghost.”
Like a rolling stone…Anna continued to develop as a songwriter and headed to sunny California. Her debut album, “Outta My Head,” is self-produced, recorded in Bay Area living rooms and in the studio with Birger Olsen of Town Rill, Nick Moran, and Jason Quever of The Papercuts. Engineered, mixed and mastered by Mark Whitcomb and Jason Quever, the album has received both national and international airplay. Currently available directly from her record label, Gingko Records, at Google Checkout, or on iTunes, Cdbaby, or Amazon, “Outta My Head” is a great introduction to Anna Laube’s unique voice. Anna is currently working on her sophomore album, entitled “Love Is Your Destiny,” due out in 2009. (from annalaube.com)
Cincy Groove: So are you recording a new cd?
Anna Laube: Kind of, I did some recording back in December and I hope to do some more in July when I go out to the Northwest and then the west coast. There is a player out there I want to do some recording with. Its not going particularly quickly. I’m not really worried about the slow pace at all, I’m just trying to take my time with the next one. Besides I feel my first record is still getting out there.
Cincy Groove: Whats the recording process been like so far with what you have done for your next record?
Anna Laube: There hasn’t been much of a process yet. I just took one day with three other people into the studio and laid down a bunch of live tracks. I will probably use some of what we recorded, but I also think I might do what I did the first record. Just being in my living room, really low key, with just a computer, microphone and see what happens.
Cincy Groove: Who do you consider some of your influences?
Anna Laube: My very first and most favorite band is The Beatles. My parents had a tape of theirs in the car and I think I completely wore it through. When I was a teenager I listened to Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls. I love Aretha Franklin, I feel like I learned how to sing by listening to her. David Zollo was my piano teacher in Iowa City, he is a singer, songwriter there. So I was really listening to David and Aretha a lot when I was considering becoming a full time musician. After that I got really into Lucinda Williams and Bob Dylan, like every singer, songwriter. More recently there has been some folk singers from San Francisco, one of them is named Sean Hayes and his friend Jolie Holland, I think they are really amazing.
Cincy Groove: So do you play by yourself or with some other players when you perform live?
Anna Laube: I occasionally will have somebody playing with me, but nobody I am sharing vocal duties with. When I was on Woodsongs I took a guitar player with me. Sometimes I will have a bass player and drummer. But its mostly solo.
Cincy Groove: Sometimes that makes everything easier when you play solo.
Anna Laube: When I get in the car I can listen to what I want to and don’t have to share the radio with anybody (laughing).
Cincy Groove: When did you first start playing the guitar?
Anna Laube: I first played while I was still in high school at the age of 14. Our high school had a Fine Arts week where we had a bunch of performances. One of the performances was these two sisters singing an Indigo Girls song. Which is how I first discovered the Indigo Girls from that performance. I have been playing other instruments since I was three, so I kind of just threw that one on the pile.
Cincy Groove: What other instruments do you play at your shows?
Anna Laube: In addition to the guitar, I have been playing piano and harmonica at shows lately. I studied violin for a long time but never mastered it so I’m trying to learn that again so I can add some fiddle to my songs.
Cincy Groove: Are there any venues you enjoy playing at?
Anna Laube: One of the best places for me for shows is this little place in Iowa City called the Java House. Its always packed and their is some really good energy there.
Upcoming Anna Laube’s tour dates:
for complete show details visit annalaube.com
July 4th, 2008 Trabant Coffee and Chai Seattle, WA
July 5th, 2008 Cafe Luna Vashon, WA
July 6th, 2008 Tim Noah Thumbnail Theater Snohomish WA
July 8th, 2008 Green Frog Cafe Acoustic Tavern Bellingham, WA
July 17th, 2008 Cafe Royale San Francisco, CA
July 19th, 2008 Pass The Buck House Concerts Half Moon Bay CA
July 25th, 2008 Barefoot Coffeeroasters Santa Clara, CA
July 26th, 2008 Cava Wine Bar Capitola, CA
July 30th, 2008 Pacifica Farmers’ Market Pacifica, CA
July 31st, 2008 Bargetto Winery Thursday Night Music Series Soquel, CA
August 1st, 2008 Linnaea’s Cafe San Luis Obispo, CA
August 2nd, 2008 Palo Alto Farmers’ Market Palo Alto, CA
August 2nd, 2008 Nomad Cafe Oakland, CA
August 3rd, 2008 Campbell Farmers’ Market Campbell, CA
August 16th, 2008 Half Moon Bay Farmers’ Market Half Moon Bay, CA
August 20th, 2008 Pacifica Farmers’ Market Pacifica, CA
August 23rd, 2008 Palo Alto Farmers’ Market Palo Alto, CA
August 30th, 2008 Noe Valley Farmers’ Market San Francisco, CA
September 6th, 2008 Half Moon Bay Farmers’ Market Shoreline Station Half Moon Bay, CA
September 13th, 2008 House Concert Alameda CA