Chesapeake Taste

Lily and The Pearl latest offering from Annapolis musician

Genevieve Torri

Annapolis native Laura Brino is a middle school art teacher by day and lovely songbird by night.

Monday through Friday during the school year, you can find Laura excelling in her role as an art teacher at Bates Middle School. She finds inspiration in being surrounded by her talented and creative students—their ability to create freely on a daily basis inspired her to find the necessary time she needed to create more of her own art.

Laura began to teach herself to play the piano at age 8. The instrument soon became her sacred place, serving as a therapeutic outlet: she felt free to put her childhood thoughts into words coupled with the music she created. When Laura turned 16 she was playing around Annapolis; her first gig was at an open mic night at Ego Alley. Since then, Laura has been performing as a gifted one-woman band recording, producing, and writing her own creations.

A decade later and Laura has charmed her way into thousands of hearts with her music. Whether she is playing a venue on the Chesapeake Bay or the California coastline, during her shows audiences favorably receive her melodic lyrics and quick wit.

This spring, Laura finished crafting her latest album. However, this time around, her fans may notice there is a slight twist to her normally solo efforts: multi-talented Chesapeake Bay musician Sean Jackson.

Laura and Sean have both been active among the same talented, Chesapeake Bay music community for a number of years. Occasionally the two would bump into one another at shows, and they soon developed a mutual respect for one another's craft. After attending one of Sean's local performances, Laura decided to open to him her well-guarded musical vault of metaphorical lyrics. Not long after that creative meeting, the two decided to enter into a studio project together. With Sean as her creative partner, Laura left her strictly solo career behind to form a new collaboration, called Lily and The Pearl.

On the new album, Laura and Sean's fans will instantly recognize the contributions of both musicians. Laura penned all the song lyrics while also playing the guitar, piano, and the cello parts. Sean's deeper, multi-instrumental tones add to Laura's soft lyrics. His talents on guitar, bass, and drums intertwine harmoniously with Laura's lyrical storytelling. Lily and The Pearl definitely is a successful achievement.

The unsigned team of Lily and The Pearl kicked off their summer tour after a CD release party June 12 at the Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge. This dynamic team hopes to capture the ears and hearts of an independent label and to be touring nationally before the end of the year.

Don't miss this video of Lily and The Pearl peforming at Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge this summer.

FensePost

There are a lot of female singer/songwriters out there who are obviously influence by the likes of Ani DiFranco or Joni Mitchell. Sadly, most of them become are poor representations of their elders. But, Laura Brino can proudly look beyond such satire. Her sophomore album How We Survived is reminiscent, but less reflective, of her elders. She has a power and grace that is obviously all her own. Her songs are the warm coffee on a rainy day. Or the oh-so-sought-after light at the end of the tunnel in the world of folk music.

Laura’s range from piano to acoustic guitar is stellar to say the least. Her determination to create earthy and natural sounding folk music is incredible. A song like “Running Shoes” sounds like a walk along song to hear when strolling through Times Square or the Inner Harbor. Her east coast coffee shop style is impervious to stereotypes. She makes such pretty music that labels are downright unnecessary. And it would be irresponsible not to mention the lounge act worthy track “The Biggest Meteor I’ve Ever Seen”. This a song best served with a chilled red wine and a side of melody worship.

This Annapolis songstress plays all the right cards in a deck meant for bearded male hipsters. She maintains her femininity without being too demanding about it. Her beauty in her words is just as important as her folk music stamina that is very important this day and age. How We Survived is not her first display of these talents, but it is easily her finest to date. With all her talent, it is not too absurd to one day see Laura Brino become the comparison for female wordsmiths of the future.

College News

Album Review: Laura Brino

Maryland songwriter brings ingenuity and originality to songwriting on How We Survived


While it’s not always up my alley, there’s no denying the talent seen in peculiar or eccentric female songwriters. Limited in their past exposure, the genre has seen a boost in popularity since acts like Feist hit it big time. (Thanks in no small part to that iPod commercial.)

We here at College News encourage you to embrace your inner whimsical nature by acquainting yourself with Laura Brino. Brino’s no newcomer to the scene. Playing piano since she was three, she has three albums to her name and plenty to offer for fans of the genre.

Brino may not have the non-stop hooks of Feist, but she’s lyrically effective and just as creative. This Maryland singer/songwriter has the musical DNA similar to Dido or Natalie Merchant.

How We Survived Is Laura’s third solo effort, dropped in July of this year. It follows up on 2006’s A Strange and Beautiful Trip and 2008’s Elephant.

Like most similar artists, Brino provides the vocals, acoustic guitar, and piano on the album. Going above and beyond, she also wrote, mixed, and produced all but two of the disc’s tracks. The amount of work involved is easily discerned as soon as you press play.

“This Lake” is an ethereal indie tune, full of metaphorical lyrics and echoey vocals. Brino’s breathy delivery lends itself perfectly to the track’s guitar-laden ambience. Timely electric strums keep it lively.

My favorite track on the disc, “Running Shoes” elegantly screams for radio airplay. Upbeat and quirky, it is the most ready for mainstream song on How We Survived. Supported by a gentle bass line, the catchy refrain will remain in your head long after your headphones come out.

“The Biggest Meteor I’ve Ever Seen” keeps a steady pace while on its love-song track, with lyrics of clear night skies and inside-filling butterflies. For all the gents’ out there, try this track when you next woo a pretty lady on your couch. They’ll assume you’re deep and metaphorical too. (Which is true, right?)

Laura’s MySpace page gives valid insight into the songwriter’s personality and features plenty of videos, including one in which she covers the legendary Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” Keep an eye on it for upcoming performances.

Keep your ear to Laura Brino; she’ll take you on the pleasantest of rides.

Laura Brino can next be seen playing a cancer benefit on October tenth in Baltimore. You can find How We Survived along with her prior albums available for digital downloady goodness on iTunes. 

B Magazine

SURVIVING ALONE
“[The album’s title track] came after spending a week in a cabin in the woods down in North Carolina with some of my friends from art school,” Brino says. “… We were all staying basically in one bedroom. People were crashing on the floor. I just didn’t know what to do with myself and I felt really sick that day. Everyone went out and I stayed home by myself and I thought, ‘I just need to regroup.’ By the end of that day, I wrote this song and I felt better. The rest of the week was like being at a retreat and I felt like it got me started on doing this whole record by myself.”

BACK TO SCHOOL

“I’m going back to become an art teacher [for] a couple reasons,” Brino says. “I didn’t want to do hair for the rest of my life, which is what I currently do. But also, I have always been drawn to kids. And when I was in high school, my art teacher really changed my life and kept me on track. And the teacher has the great benefits of being off in the summer, which helps as a musician so you can tour. So it all works out.” NICK JACKSON, WTMD

Chesapeake Music Guide


ElePhant, the new release from singer-songwriter Laura Brino(laurabrino.com)
is a gem of an album.  Full of superb original songs, a great pop sensibility, and a beautiful voice, Brino wears her heart on her sleeve with a disc of tunes that deal with vulnerability, insecurity, and apprehension.  Delivered in a manner that truly speaks from her heart, she caresses her words with an emotional lilt., conveying her feelings in a manner that draws the listener into her private world, making the album a personal and intimate listening experience. Brino, who also plays guitar and piano, has a delicate inflection that mirrors the fragile nature of her relationship songs.  Her trepidation is best revealed in songs like the title track, Rapunzel and The Mockingbird Song, which are quieter and more introspective.  On top of beautiful melodies, her vocals float over the music with a delicate nuance that makes her sound exposed to the world.  I Fold andSomething More are radio-friendly slices of pure pop that would sound right at home on any number of shows on the CW.  With only six songs, ElePhant clocks in at just over 26 minutes.  It did leave me wanting more, but for my money, I'll take quality over quantity every time. 

Performer Magazine

“Breathy” is an overused adjective used to describe female vocals, but in this case it is warranted. Laura Brino’s voice breathes through these six songs like a living woodwind.

This prettily packaged EP (against a pale yellow background, little sketched elephants hang onto tree branches like Christmas ornaments) starts with “Elephant” in which a guitar gently plucked and cymbals lightly tapped keep time; midway through the song, a stronger piano and then a snare drum elevate the song to lead off status. “I Fold,” the disc’s second track, is a crisp light rocker with a simple yet signature piano line. Deft backup vocals of the ooh, ahh, and la la la variety give the songs richness, as do cello and subtly deployed tambourine. While “Elephant” does not break new ground with its arrangements (although the song that plays on Ms. Brino’s website has a unique hand-tapped bongo beat that gives it a Bebel Gilberto-as-remixed feel) the songs have an innate likeability and listenability. Like many musicians before her, Ms. Brino is a lapsed art-student, and her assuredness as an artist comes through from the delightful cover to the lovely set of songs inside. (self-released)

www.laurabrino.com

-Chris Gorham


Baltimore Unsigned Artist of the Month

 "With a breathy voice and a keen sense of melody, Annapolis-based
singer/songwriter Laura Brino has a charming musical appeal. Brino has
noticeably grown as an artist since her January 2007 session on
Baltimore Unsigned.

Laura's new six-song EP Elephant has a warm, breezy feel that's
fitting for the start of summer. From bubbly tracks like "Something
More" to the wistful "I Fold," it's clear Brino has a bright future."

The Collegian


Laura Brino, a naturally gifted singer and songwriter, has a style that is all her own. Her first CD was released in 2006, but her list of original songs includes many more than the 13 on the album.  Her audience at The Cellar on Friday night heard the full range of her extensive original song collection.
    She writes about love, war and the pursuit of happiness.  Her voice is reminiscent of Jewel, Norah Jones and Tori Amos.  It's very smooth and delicate, yet diverse.  No, she can't yodel like Jewel, but she knows how to hit a high note and how to sing those long, drawn-out melodies.  Her voice didn't falter a single time during Friday's performance.
With only her voice, acoustic guitar and drummer Ken Crawn, her songs are all surprisingly different.  Songs with much slower tempos like "Junebug" are more contemplative and solemn.  Songs such as "Pick Me Up" and "Purple Kind of Day" are more stirring with much faster tempos.  The extra bounce doesn't take away from the deepness of her lyrics.  It adds just the right amount of foot-tapping beat to make listeners take notice.
Brino's presence was laid-back and carefree, but magnetic nonetheless.  Her banter and jokes between songs made her even more enjoyable.  Listeners would get much more out of her live performance than her CD.  Her quirky confidence and raw talent could only be witnessed live.
She is working on a second CD with a producer in Los Angeles.  She hopes to get a record contract this time around, she said.
Brino learned how to play the guitar when she was six and living in Annapolis, MD., but she soon quit taking lessons and taught herself.  While on stage at The Cellar, she admitted that she didn't even know the chords of her own songs.  You wouldn't know by the sound of it.
After high school, she attended the Maryland Institute College of Art but never graduated.  After going to beauty school for a year to secure an income for herself, she decided to move out to Jackson Hole, WY. 
There in an old hotel room with a clear view of the Rocky Mountains, she wrote most of the songs on her CD and many more.  She says she can't stop writing songs.  The title of her CD "A Strange and Beautiful Trip" is also the 10th song on her CD.  It is about that sic month trip of self discovery and transformation.  In fact, the back of her CD cover is a picture taken out the back window of her car of the mountains that inspired her, she said.
Her music is great to relax to and probably a good companion to homework.  If people find themselves on a similar self-exploration rod trip, her CD would also be a necessary addition.
All of her songs are very personal and obviously come straight from her own emotional experiences.  It's this rawness that makes her music as infectious as it is.  Her persistence to remain original is a quality hard to find in singers today.
At only 24, she has performed all over the East Coast.  Her drummer, Crawn, who has performed everything from blues to swing to jazz, said her unique style is definitely bound for success.  Her prolific songwriting is an attribute that will take her far, he said.

Chesapeake Music Guide

The minimalist sound that Laura Brino offers on A Strange and Beautiful Trip is a large part of its appeal.  Its stripped-down production serves her voice well, which is often soft and delicate.  Accompanying herself on guitar, piano, and various other instruments, she reminded me of, among others, Sam Phillips and Margo Timmins.  When she multi-tracks her voice, as she does on the beautiful Drinking All my Woman and Falling into You, she sounds similar to Phillips.  At times, she sounds like Timmins from the Trinity Sessions.  On Dear Mr. Moonshine her voice has a "slurry" quality to it that's reminiscent of Rickie Lee Jones.  She is blessed with a versatile and beautiful voice, plus she writes smart little pop songs.  The melodies on A Strange and Beautiful Trip are sometimes haunting, sometimes bouncy, and very memorable.  Produced by Brino, A Strange and Beautiful Trip has a "homemade" sound.  There are times when it sounds like the microphone could have used a windscreen, but that just adds to the charm of the whole thing.  The sparse sound lends itself to Brino's songwriting style, which is a cross between folk and pop/rock.  A Strange and Beautiful Trip is a much understated record.  People who like their singer/songwriters on the softer, more melodic side will find ASABT a very pleasant listen.  It's themes are personal reflections that translate well to song, presented in a fashion that's easy on the ears.  Listen at myspace.com/laurabrino

The Baltimore Sun

Style: folk

Influenced byJoni MitchellTori AmosFiona Apple

Notable: Brino traveled to Los Angeles last August and recorded a six-song demo. She independently released a full-length album, "A Strange and Beautiful Trip," earlier this year. The Los Angeles trip was her first time in a professional studio with a producer.

Quotable: "I was challenged," Brino said. "I'm pretty used to laying down a track and it including little mistakes. I'm not a total perfectionist, and I kind of like the little imperfections in things. I learned with this producer that no matter how easy something sounds on a record, how live it sounds, there's a lot put into it to make it perfect."

Maverick Magazine

"Though born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Laura Brino wrote most of
the songs on A STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL TRIP[www.laurabrino.com] in a 
small motel room in Wyoming. Returning east, she started performing in 
the Washington DC and Baltimore area and self-penned songs that make
up this debut album. There's a strident barroom piano tinkling
away in the background of the forlorn Dear Mister Moonshine, piano is to 
fore on the reflective Drinking all My Woman, whereas, Junebug has a more 
rootsy feel, very much in the Norah Jones style. With a powerful yet at 
times quite delicate, vocal sound, Laura pours out all her innermost emotions
during the course of this fine album."

Shippensburg University

"How does everything sound out there? The guitar, vocals, everything sound all right?" asked Laura Brino during a short break in her impressive set at McFeely's coffeehouse Saturday night.  Everything sounded more than all right, with Brino's bright beautiful sound filling up the room and her playful conversation with the crowd keeping the audience entertained.  "I love coming to Shippensburg" Brino said.  ""The crown is always very attentive, and I appreciate that.  I just played at a bar in Richmond, VA and I much prefer an environment where I can actually hear myself."  Brino's stop at McFeely's was a blid on her radar screen of late, with stops all along the east coast as well as a trip to Los Angeles to record a new album-her first with what Brino called "a real live producer, who actually knows what he's doing."
"It's strange to hear songs that you've written get all chopped up in the studio.," Brino said. " I recorded my first CD by myself, and it's a little bit overwhelming."
With only a bongo plater accompanying her on stage, Brino was able to win over the crowd immediately.  Her set was made up of almost all originals, which didn't seem to bother the audience.  "Visions of Jackson" one of Brino's stand-out songs of the night, began with her gently finger-picking her guitar and vocals that demonstrated exactly why Brino's career seems to be on the way up. 
Despite her excitement about recording in Los Angeles, Brino still enjoys live performances, like the one on Saturday night.
"I much prefer playing live shows than recording in a studio," Brino Said. "I love hearing those 'beautiful mistakes' as I call them.  A crack in the voice or a scratch on the strings of a guitar.  I think it's what makes live music so great. "
Even though the crowd inside McFeely's was slightly lacking, the 10 or 15 people who stuck around were clearly enjoying Brino's set, due in part to her constant interaction with the audience.  "this song is a little bit of a pick me up for you guys, " Brino said. " Coincidentally, it's called "Pick Me Up".  Brino went on to solicit audience participation in the form of whistling, before the off key tune of the crown caused her to blurt out, "actually I hate audience participation. Never mind." While her original material was beyond impressive, Brino was able to poke fun at the lack of cover songs in her set.  "Last time I was here, I knew one cover song by The Postal Service, " Brino said. "Well, nothing's changed.  I still only know one cover songs, and i'm going to play it for you right now."
Surprisingly, it seemed as if the audience was simply waiting out the cover song, being more interested in hearing more of her original work.  Brino also relayed a story about playing in a hip-hop club close to her home in Annapolis, MD.  
"I wasn't really sure that a hip-hop/funk backing band would be the best fit for my style of music, but you know what-I think it actually worked out." Brino said, "I was pretty nervous before I went on stage." Brino described herself as "being on an extended leave of absence from school."  While that may be true, the crowd of students on Saturday night seemed to hope she wouldn't take an extended leave of absence from McFeely's.