Not long ago I went to a Damien Jurado show, to check out some of his beautifully melodic and moody Appalachian-styled songs. The lady who opened his show, however, was a tall, thin chanteuse named Laura Gibson, who just absolutely knocked me out, coming across a little like a psychedelic Gillian Welch, or a female Tom Waits … if he lived on a farm in the Northwest and didn’t get out too much.

With a unique, quavery voice and a spooky and airy melodic approach, her music is both beautiful and jarring; the pieces don’t quite fit, but in a good way. Her band plays saws and odd things and conjure up the creepiest but coolest (and, it should be said, often fun and jamming) vibe.

She seems to have a warm but steely stage presence, where she stares off into the audience, not really seeing anyone as she sings. She made long, uncomfortable eye contact with me, until I had to look away. But as I was looking into her eyes, and it felt like she was looking into mine, I realized she wasn’t seeing me. She was listening to herself sing. Spooky.

I’ve seen and heard a lot of music. This lady is something special.

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