by RENEE PATRICK Cascade A&E Editor
With the release of her fourth album and an imminent move to Portland, Laurel Brauns is poised to fully pursue a career in music. The album, House of Snow, is a thoughtful and melodic work recently launched on September 16.
Brauns’ lyrics evoke her love of the water and the beauty found in simple nature scenes. Her song writing has evolved from the past few albums with her desire to write for the listener rather than herself. What has resulted, she explains, is a happier album.
“I want to be more mature in the song writing process. It’s a competitive industry, it’s hard to get traction, and I feel that I have more potential of progression if I make music that is accessible,” Brauns said. She spent the winter crafting her writing process with the help of local musicians Franchot Tone and Eric Tollefson.
Brauns is proactive about collaborating with other artists on House of Snow, and the effort has added layers of texture to her songs. Track two, Doldrums, features a chorus of local musicians, Erin Cole-Baker, Mark Ranson, Patrick Pearsall and Katie Brauns; the effect is a haunting ballad of longing in one of the strongest songs on the album.
Dreams has the most distinct sound with Brauns’ voice backed by rhythmic strings and percussion with influences of the Decemberists’ style.
Unlike Brauns’ previous three albums, she had creative director of the Portland Cello Project, Douglas Jenkins, produce and arrange House of Snow. On Swimming, Periphery and Closed for the Season, Brauns created the songs much more haphazardly with extended jam sessions that evolved into the recorded music. Jenkins’ structure resulted in a well crafted album with tracks that create her most cohesive work to date.
Since she works as a freelance writer and marketing professional, Brauns has the flexibility to start focusing her efforts on touring, specifically among the wineries in the valley.
While we will miss her influence in Bend, Brauns is certain to take the success of House of Snow over the mountains. Take the time to listen; her album is the perfect accompaniment to a fall evening sitting on the back porch with a glass of wine.