Ink Article, Laurel Morgan
Laurel Morgan keeps her schedule full.
In addition to writing and performing strings music with cellist Sascha Groschang as part of the Wires, she plays violin for the folk-rock group Tree and performs with recently out-of-hiatus band In the Pines, which is finalizing its second album.
She spoke with Ink recently about inspiring albums, the violin and her one-time obsession with Dave Matthews.
1. What’s the album that influences you the most?
For the past few years I’ve really been influenced by indie violinist Andrew Bird. His latest album, “Break It Yourself,” has some interesting violin fluttering that I’ve been inspired to emulate.
2. What’s an album you’ve never gotten tired of listening to?
“In Rainbows” by Radiohead. I love the use of strings in that album and that it exemplifies that there is beauty in sadness.
3. What’s an album you thought you’d never get tired of listening to but did?
I used to love, love, love Dave Matthews, especially the album “Crash.” I was seriously into him and thought the violinist was rockin’. Ten years later I feel otherwise. I guess I’ve gotten wiser with age.
4. What’s the most recent album you’ve fallen in love with?
“In the Moment” by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas. They are a violin/cello duo that plays mostly Scottish music. Their technique is superb, and they write a lot of their own compositions.
5. What kind of music did your parents listen to when you were growing up? Did that have a big effect on the kind of music you eventually began listening to?
My dad listened to Grateful Dead and still listens to them. I remember Mom listening to a lot of Paul Simon. Even though I appreciate all the support my parents have given me over the years, I’d have to say that what I listen to now is a far cry from what I heard growing up.
6. How did you get into the violin? Did you grow up playing any other instruments?
My dad is a great guitarist! Once he took group fiddle lessons and I was desperate to play the violin when I saw the fiddle he had at the age of 5. They got me involved in Suzuki lessons, and after that I was sleeping with my violin every night. Growing up, I wanted to play cello, guitar and piano — but my parents had enough sense to focus me on getting really good at just one thing, which later helped me figure out basic guitar and piano.
7. What’s the first song you memorized?
I memorized all my music until I learned to read music in college. The first would be the “Twinkle Variations” from the Suzuki volumes.