You can call music amazing all you like; you can overuse that adjective in abundance all over the comments sections of social media platforms, but to me, it isn’t amazing unless it reaches a part of your soul that identifies with you in a way that is so resonantly truthful to oneself, that it brings tears to your eyes, sends shivers up your spine, and there isn’t really a tangible way in which your love of it can be expressed.
Which is exactly what I experienced about a month ago when I discovered Laura Nyro via the Lefsetz letter. When I Followed through Bob’s description song by song, I was very quickly sold, and off I went, searching for her music.
The first track I heard was ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ then ‘Stoney End’. Instantly recognisable hits from The Fifth Dimension and Barbara Streisand but Nyro wrote them!
As I ventured Nyro’s catalogue throughout a night of insomnia, I started to slowly unravel her genius: her angelic voice, that demanded your attention from everything between a soft whisper or a bellowing cry, her virtuosic piano playing that could interweave the simplicity of a solid backbeat of a catchy rock n’ roll pop tune with the dreamy complexity and space of jazz, not to mention the stunning arrangements of tracks such as ‘Lu’, ‘Poverty Train’, ‘Gibsom Street’ or my personal favourite ‘Captain for Dark Mornings’…some of those tempo changes too!!!
But the key thing about Laura Nyro is her soulfulness, sensitivity and sincerity. One of those few artists that can elevate certain feelings of love, loss and loneliness to above and beyond. Like those few artists, she died way too young, and it breaks my heart even more so when I listen to her.
As a Friday Night listening to Nyro transcended into a Saturday morning, and after a train ride and a strong coffee, I popped into the record store and bought 5 albums!
I’ve been telling everyone about her ever since, and only 1 person out of everyone knew who she was, having fallen under the radar whilst other artist’s renditions of her songs turned them into hits.
You’ve got to hear Laura herself though…she’s too good not to be heard by so few.