Todd Lavoie - San Francisco Bay Guardian
Sure, it's mighty fine to have that warm, tingly feeling rippling up and down your spine as you discover your newest favorite song by an artist to whom you would hand over the keys to your heart, but let's fess up: nothing comes close to being frozen in place by a song that pricks up your ears and leaves you begging, "Who was that?!" I'm lucky enough to still feel my head swimming from such a moment. "Something I Can Feel," from the recent debut release by Anna Laube, Outta My Head (Ginkgo Records), lured me from the grayness of my computer and whisked me off to better, brighter places. Fans of Jolie Holland, Dolly Parton, and Sarah Harmer, take note: this local singer-songwriter has a name you'll want to remember.
Editor's Review - C|NET Download.com
Country, folk, and torchy pop gather like old friends in this San Francisco songstress's burnished tunes. Centered on softly insistent vocals (somewhere between Aimee's and Emmylou's), Laube's songs layer in plucky mandolin, quavering slide, and enough good faith to keep the campfire burning late.
NPR's All Songs Considered Second Stage
Described as "A name you'll want to remember" by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Anna Laube makes intimate, heartfelt songs rooted in traditional Americana. With a strong voice reminiscent of Neko Case or Jenny Lewis, Laube sings with a slight but refreshing country twang over a mix of blues, country and folk. Now living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Laube was raised in Iowa City, IA and Madison, WI. She's also spent time in Minnesota, Florida and Belgium. Her debut CD is Outta My Head. It's a collection of 12 original tracks on life and love, featuring Birger Olsen, Nick Moran, Jason Quever and Mark Whitcomb. The featured track, "Angelina," is and ode to Laube's guitar.
By Scott Gordon - Madison, WI
Former Madisonian Anna Laube returns from California to release her new album Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge, which follows up the pleasant, intimate singer-songwriter tunes from 2006's Outta My Head. Laube tracked a good part of the record in Madison with Whitcomb behind the boards, and a cast of local musicians helped to round out the sound. Judging by new songs like "Hippie Boyfriend," Laube's still paying attention to the traditions of acoustic folk, but doesn't mind bringing the light-'n'-playful side.
Anna Laube's career as a pleasant singer-songwriter has taken place between San Francisco and Madison, and she customarily returns here for a pre-Christmas show. Last year's gig was supposed to be the CD-release for her album Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge, but she got the actual CDs a day late, so here she celebrates the CD again. There's nothing earth-shattering going on in the lyrics of songs like "Hippie Boyfriend" or "More Than Friends," but the saving grace here is that Laube just rolls with the playful, low-key vibe, complementing her slightly jazz-influenced vocals with agreeable acoustic backing and a light touch.
By Leslie Katz - San Francisco, CA
Multi-instrumentalist Anna Laube sings of San Francisco
Bay Area-based singer-songwriter Anna Laube is enjoying various aspects of her burgeoning pop music career.
“I started when I was 20 or 21, made my first recording in 2006, and now this is my second,” says the musician, who celebrates the release of the CD Pool All the Love * Pool All the Knowledge Saturday in a free show at Café Royale in San Francisco.
“I didn’t have super-high expectations,” says the 28-year-old, who plays piano, saxophone, oboe, violin and guitar and cites Lucinda Williams as one of her biggest inspirations.
“She’s at the top of her game, she’s in her mid-50s,” says Laube, who writes songs with San Francisco themes and references – including one called “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” that’s not the Tony Bennett version.
“California King,” featuring accordion player Rob Reich and “Blue Angel” are also San Francisco-inspired, as well as “I Found Love,” which starts out, “I found love on the 101/With rain fallin’ down outside.” The tune came to Laube as a result of her commute up Highway 101 and magical moments listening to Bob Dylan, one of her heroes.
She wouldn’t call her songs blatantly political, but some of them have a “liberal, new age-y feel” that represents her adopted home, which she calls “absolutely beautiful” and a cool combination of a small town and a big city.
She’s been around. She was born in Iowa, and moved to Madison, Wis., then lived in Belgium on a Rotary scholarship for what she calls a fifth year of high school. She went to college in Minnesota, then came to Mountain View, and worked for Google.
While still employed at Google doing customer service, she started working on her first CD.
She doesn’t mind the business of getting her music out, calling it a challenge and a good opportunity to learn something new.
Laube says she’s following the lead of her friend, San Francisco singer-songwriter Sean Hayes, whom she calls a great performer with amazing songs. Not only does he have a huge local following and is running his own label, he’s a “nice person.”
Sesac New and Now Spring 2010
Anna Laube's new album, Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge, was written in living rooms from Austin, TX, to Volcano, HI, and documents a life on the road less traveled. She's come a long way in a short time: Laube has been described as "An artist to whom you would hand over the keys to your heart," by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, composing "Intimate, heartfelt songs rooted in traditional Americana" (NPR) -- and her music is receiving airply worldwide.
By Todd Lavoie - San Francisco Bay Guardian Noise Blog
...Laube describes herself as a bit of a roamer in her press materials, and that wandering spirit tends to flavor her just-released second album, Pool All the Love * Pool All the Knowledge (Gingko), a comfortingly rootsy collection of songs that evoke memories of road trips and visits to quieter, less bustling locales than her current place of residence.
Her voice is an alluringly warm, friendly instrument – sweet without becoming cloying, tender and heartfelt and rich from just a hint of a soft husky purr from time to time. Love, family, and friends – and now and then, the open road – form the bulk of her songwriting material, and her many of her compositions are constructed from such straightforward, elemental phrasing that they feel quickly familiar. This is meant as a compliment, of course: one of the main goals of folk music has always been a speedy connection with its listeners, and Laube accomplishes this readily with such engaging, convivial songwriting. Fans of Sarah Harmer's easygoing indie folk or the Be Good Tanyas' front-porch-and-a-beer tribute to old-timey sounds will find much to love in Laube's material, as it shares many similarities with those artists.
Countrified folk is one of Laube's greatest strengths; her come-sit-here-and-let-me-tell-you-my-story delivery gives these songs a genuinely real, unfussy confessional quality, and the careful touch of twang in her voice is just enough to bring added authenticity. Midtempo opener “This Moment With Me” – “Yesterday's already gone / Tomorrow's no guarantee” – is a solid example of what I mean. It's simple, direct, plainspoken – and this matter of the subject's getting right to the point is nicely served by strident strummed guitars and subtle accents of hand claps.
The addition of accordion on “California King” was a wise move: the instrument's wistful churning and chugging makes a fine repartee with Laube's sweetly purred observations. (For a few moments I was even reminded of Iris DeMent – a fine thing.) The Be Good Tanyas vibe runs the strongest on “I Just Had to Say," a slinky, swaying number powered by a hard-strumming electric guitar rhythm and playful banjo counterpoint. Her vocal switch-offs with harmony backup by Sarah Morris are particularly inspired, and once again much of the song's formidable-but-understated might stems from emotionally direct, uncluttered phrasing: “I had to tell you that I love / So I wrote you down this song.”
Laube primarily focuses on acoustic sounds on the disc, but electric guitar get its spotlight here and there. Most effectively, the instrument is used on the '50s-styled slow waltz, “I Found Love," a wonderfully deceptive track that at first sounds like a declaration of undying love (“Sitting next to you, I was just happy to be alive”) but eventually reveals itself to be a sighing parting gesture (“That's why it's so hard to set you free”).
Lastly, shuffling folk-blues find their way onto a couple of Pool All the Love's most enticing tracks: “Kihei Blues” benefits greatly from the throaty grrrs Laube slips into her choked-harmonica confessions, and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” (not a cover song) is a woozy, banjo-peppered ramble a la Jolie Holland. The latter is perhaps the disc's biggest standout, and hopefully indicative of what's to come from this talented songwriter...
Matt Forsman - SF Station
...Laube offers no easy answers in the album, but never fails to seduce with a plethora of beautifully written, authentic tracks and talent that is unquestionable...Laube’s vocals are broad and resonant, enabling her to reflect on love with appropriate gravity and whimsy. Part Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, and a good part uniquely Anna, Laube’s got the pipes for this kind of material...
Nate Seltenrich - East Bay Express
Laube says she gave up a job at Google to tour the country with the Gibson acoustic guitar she lovingly named Angelina. Her second album is infused with tales and perspectives from the road, but it's the studio touches, like bright drums and warm harmonica solos, that make for a great listen. Modern arrangements spice up the classic blues-folk template.
Rob Thomas - Wisconsin State Journal
Sure, San Francisco music publications are raving about a talented singer-songwriter named Anna Laube in their midst, but hey, we had her first. Anna Laube was raised in Iowa City and Madison, but now makes the city by the bay her home, where she has received strong notices for her music, including the debut Outta My Head CD. Mixing agreeably rough living room recordings with more polished in-studio tracks, Outta My Head showcases a powerful and personal songwriting that's grounded but not bound by acoustic folk-pop conventions. You'll hear bits of Aimee Mann, Margo Timmins and Norah Jones here and there, but overall it's a lyrical voice that's wholly original.
San Francisco's Anna Laube mixes jazz, folk and old-school country influences in a way that pays homage to artists such as Joni Mitchell and Lucinda Williams yet sounds unique enough to nestle its way into your brain. This week she teams up with Mark Whitcomb, a friend from her school days in Madison and the guitarist of local favorite, Lorenzo's Music.
Laube's songs fall into the "heartfelt Americana" category, but her voice, which has been compared to Neko Case's more than once, is anything but timid.
John Noyd - Maximum Ink
Wisconsin native and California transplant Laube spins hippie bohemia into rootin’ tootin’ riverboat galleries moseying on down through spirited Delta blues, roadhouse honky-tonk and funky finger pickin’ folk. Turning fields plowed by Michelle Shocked and Gillian Welch, Laube has a light hand that eases into each eleven tracks revealing eleven different histories anchored in an authenticity that is friendly and forgiving. Anna’s slow-burn melancholy scrapes by as much as her confident shakedowns kick off sadness’s shackles. Lanky and coltish, pan-fried pride sizzles while fleshy sessions conjure toddlin’ minstrel jazz over Cajun gospel and East Village coffee shops circa 1959. Mixed and mastered at Madison’s DNA Studios. Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge is brought to fruition through the intimate support from local musicians Nick Moran, Aaron Konkol, and Scott Beardsley.
Katjusa Cisar - 77 Square
Anna Laube sings winsome, finger-picking folk songs with deep roots in Americana and the kind of down-to-earth attitude born in open expanses of flatland country. Listen to Laube's "This Moment With Me" off her latest album, Pool All the Love * Pool All the Knowledge.
Country-folk singer Anna Laube had a fresh album out the last time she came through town, but she didn’t get her copies from the distributor to sell at the show until a day later. This time around, the native Madisonian (now based in San Francisco) has the CD, Pool All The Love * Pool All the Knowledge in hand, as well as a fancy new iPhone app for her fans. She’ll be sharing the stage with Beth Kille of Clear Blue Betty.
Hans Werksman - Here Comes The Flood: A Weblog About Music
San Francisco singer Anna Laube can be described is just one word: tender. If you like mellow folk songs, this is a singer you want to check out. She released an album in 2006, Outta My Head, and has a busy touring schedule covering the coffee house circuit that has been embracing her kind of music for decades. She sounds like the favorite aunt most people never actually had – a husky voice embedded slide guitar, upright piano and easy going drums and bass.
Review of Outta My Head - David Byrne with Tony Peregrin - Windy City Times
Intimacy pulls the listener back time and time again on Anna Laube's debut bow, Outta My Head. The deeply personal tracks, such as "Goodbye Blue Monday," shut down the outside world. Laube sings of love on "Beautiful Boy" and "Angelina" (Angelina/So glad you're mine). Outta My Head is one of those collections that you want to listen to on your own, but part of you wants to give a copy to all of your friends, especially to those who are Norah Jones fans. Laube blends jazz, folk, country and blues in the style of Lucinda Williams and Tara Angell.
Review of Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge - David Byrne with Tony Peregrin - Windy City Times
After performing at South by Southwest, multi-instrumentalist Anna Laube returns with her refreshing sophomore effort, Pool All the Love * Pool All the Knowledge. Laube's carefree spirit shines brightly throughout the set. Her harmonica playing is a welcomed addition on "Kihei Blues." "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" is not a remake of Tony Bennett's signature, having a folk meets jazz flavor. "More Than Friends" has Laube delving deeper into blues and jazz, but hanging on to her folk roots. As she sings "Blue Angel," it seems impossible not to be enamored by her. Laube sites Bob Dylan and Lucinda Williams as influences, which carries over onto "I Found Love" and "Om Namah Shivaya ( Ulysses )". Expect the video to the catchy "Hippie Boyfriend" to appear on the promising Laube's Myspace page soon. Pool All the Love * Pool All the Knowledge is available now.
Stuart A. Hamilton Blues Matters (UK)
Originally appeared in the blog "Zeitgeist"
I must admit to being a bit of a pop tart when it comes to a woman with a guitar. Somehow they always seem to get fast tracked through the review pile, leaving ugly dudes behind in their wake. But, more often than not, I'm setting myself up for a fall, as the ability to pose with a guitar is rarely a reflection of any great musical talent. However, once in a blue moon, the system pays dividends. And this is one of those times as the ludicrously talented Ms. Laube has enriched my day. A child prodigy, Anna has worked her way through symphony orchestras and jazz bands before bringing it on back home to an intimate, smoky, jazz tinged, late night, soulful, blues. Naturally, anyone working in that idiom is going to be hit over the head with the Norah Jones stick, but across the twelve, self penned songs, Anna proves she is very much her own woman. No more so than on the album highlight, "The Most Beautiful Thing I've Ever Seen," which is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. A few others run it close – "It Makes Me Happy" and "If You Build It" are a joy to listen to. But to be honest, if this were a vinyl record, you could pop the needle down anywhere and be rewarded with a righteous noise.
Glen Starkey - New Times SLO (San Luis Obispo, CA)
San Francisco-based folky singer-songwriter Anna Laube sounds like a glass of lemonade on the back porch of a Southern plantation. If you like Emmylou Harris or an emotionally lighter Lucinda Williams, hit Linnaea's Cafe this Monday, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. and check out Laube. The multi-instrumentalist has an arresting voice, a keen ear for penning immediately affecting folk tunes, and the kind of crisp albeit unobtrusive musicianship that'll knock you back on your heels.
Outta My Head is a terrific blend of roots, country and folk. It absolutely floored me it was so good. In fact I had an immediate flashback to the first time, back in the day, when a friend of mine came back to Michigan, after working on the oil rigs outside of Houston. He said, “You got to check out this cassette" (remember, it was back in the day). "Her name is Bonnie Raitt.” Too make a long story short, the cassette was Streetlights by Bonnie Raitt… and it featured one of the greatest songs of all times, "Angel From Montgomery" (of course, written by John Prine). It really didn’t get any better than that. It still doesn’t. So the flashback is over, and I am listening to this new CD by Anna Laube, and I am thinking, this is one talented singer/songwriter. At dinner tonight, I played it for my wife, and she said it reminded her of some of Michelle Shocked’s more folk albums. Absolutely a great call. All the songs are terrific, but track #3, "Goodbye Blue Monday" and track #6, "Catch Me If You Can" will have you thinking about those tunes throughout the day. Like all “undiscovered” artists, there is a tremendous back story...Folks, you might of heard of Anna Laube before, but now that she is certified Grilladelic, you can take my recommendation to the bank.
Jake Nuckolls - CDReviews.com
Think: Emmylou Harris meeting Aimee Mann and becoming one person (an altogether too forced Disney-ish romp that somehow works). Acoustic, atmospheric, wide open, and western. Dirt covered highways and the setting sun. Along with beautiful folk tunes, Laube slips into old ragtime blues quickly and simply (“If You Build It”). Listen to the gorgeous “Something I Can Feel.”
How Marvellous Blog
I had a very pleasant lunchtime yesterday, listening to the delicious, country-tinged voice of Anna Laube. She has a new album to be released soon – Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge, already available to download. Note I said "tinged," since this isn't a "country" album, any more than say, Neko Case's are; rock/indie/country/blues influences are all apparent, and all unmistakably American (nothing wrong with that); and since the comparison presented itself, yeah, if you like Neko Case, Jenny Lewis, Jolie Holland (just to pick three contemporary singers), then you may very well be as impressed by Anna as I am; frankly, she more than stands her ground if compared directly to them... one of those artists you wonder why you never heard before - maybe Anti should do a deal? I love this one [Hippie Boyfriend], not just for the song – the excellent drums & acoustic bass, busy guitar, and a cracking harmonica/guitar "solo" bring a unique feel to it.
WLUR Music Review
Very pleasant folk rock, tinged with alt-country, blues and a shade of jazz, from San Francisco artist Anna Laube. For fans of RobinElla and Kasey Chambers. Check out "This Moment With Me," "Om Namah Shivaya (Ulysses)" and "California King."