Our September Stagepass concert with Portland singer-songwriter Laura Gibson was a farewell-for-now, as Gibson has started a graduate program in creative writing at Hunter College in New York. It’s an interesting move for an accomplished songwriter like Gibson. Her delicate songs work their way to an emotionally resonant conclusion through a profusion of painterly detail, typically rooted in the rural West and in a slower time. Her last album, La Grande, was inspired by a stay in an historic hotel in the Eastern Oregon town. Some of her best known songs (“Come By Storm,” “Hands in Pockets”) evoke a longing or waiting through the passing of seasons. Gibson told us that she thinks of her songs like collages with images and details pasted around a feeling or an idea.

In the concert, Gibson was joined for several songs by guitarist Dave Depper and singer Sarah Fennell (of Lost Lander). They played a new song called “Empire Builder,” which Gibson wrote on the train to New York. Empire Builder is the name of the Amtrak route between Portland and Chicago, and her own inside joke at moving her base eastward to New York City.  The video has full performances of the concert opener, “Damn Sure” and the rousing close, “La Grande.”

See all our performances from Stagepass.


Stagepass audio recording and mixing: Steven Kray
Director: Matthew Thomas Ross
Editor: Nate Sjol
Videographers: Matthew Thomas Ross, Nate Sjol, Gary McLeod, Hannah Andrews
Lighting Director: Matthew Rosvold
Production Design: Hannah Andrews
Executive Producer: David Christensen