Gemma Laurence is ready to come out now. After eighteen months holed up on the coast of Maine, the indie-folk artist emerged from isolation with a stack of scribbled-in notebooks and dog-eared classics, a lingering smell of woodsmoke in her hair, and a collection of eight songs held tightly underneath her arm. And now, we present the first of the collection: “Adrienne.”
Opening up about her queerness for the first time in her music, Laurence paints a picture of a past lover with disarming vulnerability and tenderness. Inspired by a line in Adrienne Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems (“You’ve kissed my hair to wake me. I dreamed you were a poem, I say, a poem I wanted to show someone…“), “Adrienne” transports listeners to the exact moment in time in which the song was set – a shared twin-sized bed at 6 A.M., sunlight dancing across the walls, coffee boiling on the stove, the taste of sweet rum lingering from the night before. Recounting these fleeting images with razor-sharp precision, Laurence draws listeners into her world with her unique gift for storytelling.
Written as she watched the seasons change from her window on the coast of Maine, the world of “Adrienne” is inseparable from the world in which it was created. Heady and atmospheric, her lush acoustic soundscapes blend fingerpicked melodies with grainy field recordings, enveloping listeners in a garden of sounds, smells, and textures. As two classical guitars dance in unison and a pedal steel whines in the distance, we hear the sounds of rain falling outside her window, weaving in and out of faint chickadee songs and the soft hum of a rolling tape machine. Unfolding at its finale into a sea of harmonies and verbed-out Garden Song-esque synths, Laurence’s low, conversational tone fades into the backdrop as the song expands wider and wider still.
Recorded, mixed, and produced by Charles Dahlke (of The Brazen Youth) at Ashlawn Recording Company in Lyme, CT, mastered by Andrew Goldring (Juliet Sunflower, Billy Martin), and workshopped with Steve Varney (of Gregory Alan Isakov), “Adrienne” features Matt Phillips on pedal steel, Will Orchard on guitar, and Jess Kerber on harmonies. Marking a departure from the songwriter’s previous stripped-back solo work, “Adrienne” feels expansive yet intimate, setting the stage for the artist’s new chapter of work.