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Laura Gibson: 2016

Laura Gibson at WFUV

Laura Gibson at WFUV (photo by Sarah Burns)


Over a year ago, a tragic gas explosion on Second Avenue in the East Village killed two people, injured 19 others, and left scores of local residents—including singer and songwriter Laura Gibson—homeless.

Gibson, who had left Portland, Oregon months earlier to enter an MFA program in fiction writing at Hunter College, escaped in the nick of time, but she lost everything in the disaster, including her guitars and her notebooks which were filled with lyrics and music for an album she’d yet to record.

Devastated by catastrophe, she found some solace in rebuilding that album, which she eventually was able to record with co-producer John Askew in Oregon. That record, called Empire Builder, is out now and it’s a true and touching testament of a woman who crossed the country to find answers about her own destiny and faced challenges that she never anticipated. But it’s also a poetic album of love and longing—and what happens when you risk pursuing your own destiny.

Laura Gibson plays two beautiful songs from Empire Builder, joined by her traveling bandmates: bassist Sean Oglivlie, drummer Ryan Dobrowski and violinist and keyboardist Lauren Jacobsen. This gentle survivor also candidly discusses the terrible explosion that altered her life, her West Coast perspective as a writer, and the therapeutic comfort of music.

[recorded: 4/5/16]