One of the finest, maybe most underrated albums of 2009 was the self-titled debut album by Blue Roses aka Laura Groves. Released via XL, it was full of sophisticated and handsome folk-pop reminiscent of both early Kate Bush and Sandy Denny, regal, theatrical and ridiculously promising. Recorded when she was only 21 years old, the album was unleashed just as the sound of Lady Gaga was taking over the world and felt gloriously out of time.
Since then she’s released 2 exceptional EPs and waded into the world of cover versions where, unsurprisingly, her song choices have been both exceptionally eclectic and just plain cool. Her latest foray into the cover universe is to help raise funds for her local branch of the National Health Service, and it’s a stunner.
Bobbie Gentry remains an unending subject of intrigue and mystery. After scoring a number one hit with the self-written evergreen classic “Ode to Billy Joe” in 1967, Gentry released a handful of genre-blurring albums and briefly hosted her own BBC variety show. In 1981, she abruptly stepped out of the spotlight and has not released any new music nor given any performances or interviews since.
The melancholy and plaintive ballad “Courtyard” is a true highlight of Gentry’s classic 1968 album The Delta Sweete and features a vocal that is stop everything striking in its intimacy. Laura Groves’s just released cover of the song somehow makes it even more spectral and haunting. Between Groves’s gorgeous vocal, the muted instrumentation and the sounds of rain in the distance, it is absolutely otherworldly.
Laura attached a message in regards to this recording:
Until 4th May, 50% of all donations will be given to my local NHS who are fundraising to provide staff with meals, essentials and to help ensure wellbeing and safety during the COVID-19 outbreak. Any amount is truly appreciated.