Michigan-based multi-instrumentalist Laurel Premo’s latest solo album, Golden Loam, out October 8, 2021, presents original and traditional music voiced on finger-style electric guitar and lap steel. Perhaps by its most honest classification “roots guitar,” the sonic vocabulary of Golden Loam is informed by guitar’s antecedents in American traditions – fiddle and banjo, the rhythms, melody and intonation therein, as well as that music’s relationship to movement. Glowing, droning, tugging, scraping, revolving, Premo bears renewed electric dirt, the golden loam layered by centuries of folk.
Today Laurel Premo has released the video for the stunning single, “Ma’s Maw.” Recorded at Studio Anatomy in Traverse City, Michigan, Premo channels a stirring live performance while the saturated lights shine down. “This original guitar piece nods to sounds from a very specific fiddle tuning traditional to Norwegian hardanger fiddle music,” Premo says. “The tuning is FDAE, and is named “gorrlaus” which translates to “very loose” (referring to that lowest string being very low). There’s some mythology around a few of these hardanger fiddle tunings, involving a sort of sonic alchemy and thinning of the veil between the musician and supernatural forces. The gorrlaus melodies are also called ‘strong tunes’ and melodically can seem infinitely looping. The lore goes that the fiddler is endangering themselves of trance by entering in to this practice. I’ve performed this tune on a slack-tuned guitar to follow suit.
The meaning of my title here, “Ma’s Maw” is simply referring to some great throat of the earth herself. I’m certain it’s an awe-filled image I gained hiking on the sand dunes nearby my home here in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan, where there are mountains of sand on the edge of the Great Lake. Sneaking down into some sandy crater and being held in the basket of grizzled herbaceous dune plants seemed an inviting cradle to just go disappear into in 2020.”
Golden Loam was self produced and recorded during the pandemic lockdown of summer/fall 2020. The majority of the record is solo performance, but two featured collaborators are woven in to this embodied rhythmic collection. Percussive dancer Nic Gareiss (Michigan) and bones player Eric Breton (Quebec) are also highlighted.