Part of the celebrated London nu-folk scene from which Mumford & Sons and Noah and the Whale emerged, Laura Marling began her solo career after leaving the latter band. She released her first album, Alas, I Cannot Swim, just days after her 18th birthday. Produced by Noah and the Whale’s Charlie Fink and featuring Marcus Mumford—both of whom Marling has dated—it was a precocious start to a career that has seen Marling, now at the still-tender age of 23, twice nominated for the U.K.’s prestigious Mercury Music Prize and honored with the award for British Female Solo Artist at the equally esteemed BRIT Awards in 2011.
Marling plays Roulette in Brooklyn on the day that her fourth LP, Once I Was an Eagle, is released in the U.S. She recently moved to Los Angeles from London, and there’s a definite American lilt to the album’s songs, which also display an increasing confidence for the previously demure singer. Whereas once her songs were characterized by an airy fragility, as she’s gotten older and moved on from the breakups to which her music was so inextricably linked, her songwriting has developed accordingly.
As such, Once I Was an Eagle is full of the hope and optimism that accompany a life-altering event such as moving to a new country. This show, the last of a short U.S. tour, should be a fitting occasion for Marling to celebrate both her new beginnings and her new album.—Mischa Pearlman