Rob Laurens has won the New Folk Award for Songwriting at both the Kerrville Folk Festival and its sister festival, The Columbia River Folk Festival. He has returned to play the main stage at these and many other festivals.
Rob has lived and traveled throughout the United States. He has spent time learning folk music from Appalachian fiddle and banjo players, blues guitarists, and from recordings at the Library of Congress. Combined with his appreciation of the poetry and myth of American folk song, these experiences have helped him develop what has been described as "the rare ability to write songs that seem like they've always been there".
"The contemporary folk music boom is a mish-mash of artists who are throwing in ingredients of rock, pop, folk, and jazz, with acoustic and electric, band and solo elements. At times, itís such a hybrid of so many music forms that just calling it "songwriting" might be the best way to describe what is happening.
Then along comes someone like Rob Laurens, who is a great contemporary songwriter and who demonstrates a clear knowledge, love, and respect for the tradition of the folk ballad within his art. In listening to these tracks, he manages to transport us back to ballads past while holding our attention within a framework of contemporary sound: a community watches a church burn down in the rock-tinged Cotton-eyed Joe, a traveler comes to terms with his relationship to himself and with a lover in the spacious Wondering How You Are, a soldier struggles with death, honor, and war in the haunting The Fields of Kingdom Come.
So sit back and listen, there are beautiful moments captured in these words and music, and enjoy the voice of a modern balladeer...
- Ellis Paul