Some things just keep getting better and better.
That’s certainly the case with Laura Boswell, the State College native who caressed our local scene for a few years prior to moving to Hawaii. She came out with a full-length album last year, met some great people on her multi-year island voyage, discovered the transformational alchemy of Vvipassana meditation, and is now headed back east to grace Asheville, North Carolina, with her finger-style magnificence.
“Just wrapping up an epic summer journey with my boyfriend,” Boswell said. “We toured the Western U.S. and got to see 13 national parks. We’ve been spending time with family on the East Coast for the past month and head to our new home in Asheville the second week of August.”
Asheville is an obvious choice for a musician. In some ways, it’s comparable to State College — it’s a smallish town with a lot of energy — but there’s something different about Asheville. There’s some kind of mystique, some other kind of magic.
“Honestly, one of my closest girlfriends has been trying to get me to move there for years,” Boswell said. “Besides that, it’s in the mountains with endless hiking, biking, waterfalls. I went to college in North Carolina and have a lot of family and connections there, and it has a lovely artistic community and culture and will be a great place to continue working on and performing my music.”
Playing music is something Boswell is inordinately talented at, but Hawaii was not so much a musical place for Boswell, at least not in the way of performing music, so returning to the East Coast and particularly to a music mecca like Asheville is a welcome change.
“Maui is a beautiful place, as are each of the Hawaiian islands,” Boswell said. “So many wonderful things about living there, although I have to say I felt too far away from many dear friends and family. I had a bit of a musical hiatus while on Maui. I played some regular gigs at an art gallery and a Kombucha bar that I worked at, and I still wrote some. My boyfriend was also co-owner of a recording studio on the island, so I had occasional access to that space.”
So, she pulled the trigger, so to speak, and will be in Asheville sometime in early August. Personally, it would be great to see her perform as much as possible in State College, but that’s a lot of driving for a recent Asheville transplant. This time around, while she’s been in State College for a week or so, she performed at the Hublersburg Inn, but she doesn’t have any other gigs scheduled in the area.
When she does play locally, my favorite thing about the shows is the way she plays. She’s a well-trained, extremely proficient finger stylist who writes lush, atmospheric and quite simply very beautiful music, and her voice both emerges from and then emanates throughout the ether, with a seamlessly symbiotic sound.
That’s all true, but to listen to Boswell with your eyes closed is one thing and to listen while also watching her perform is another. She typically sings with her eyes closed, head weaving in tandem with her music, and it’s as if various blues, violets, and bright white lights drift down and around her silhouette. It’s amazing, really, and is something to experience, whether in State College, Hawaii, or, now, Asheville.
So, what can we expect to see and hear from Boswell in the future? I can relay from the last time I checked in with her that there is already new music waiting to be recorded, so there will be that. In the meantime, her heart is full with friends and loved ones.
“I hope to continue recording,” Boswell said. “I have lots more material just sitting around, aging. Eventually I hope to set up a home recording studio so I can do it all myself. I’ll be looking for some type of management or help with booking in the. Outside of music, just trying to get outside and explore as much as I can and taking advantage of my close proximity to all the people I love on the East Coast.”
Kevin Briggs is a musician, writer and teacher who performs at venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Contact him at . KevinTBriggs@gmail.com