It's very clear that the likes of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez are huge influences on Tulsa (by way of LA)-based singer Lauren Barth. (Indeed, May 5th was a pretty big day for the Tulsa music world, it seems, and I plan to have a writeup of that other Tulsa-based singer-songwriter this week.) But with lyrics like

These city lights don't suit me now
All I do is run around
Said gettin' high is gettin' me down
This cocaine don't help me now
My old ghosts start comin' round

it's clear that Barth is not my mom's folk singer. Or maybe she's what my mom's folk singers could have said if they were allowed to say everything they wanted to.

Thanks to some strange glitch at my work computer, I didn't get a chance to listen to the second half of this album until now. That being said, the first five songs seem to have a distinct feel from the second. The first few songs on Forager are sunny and fully fleshed-out folk with a tasty undercurrent of pop, possibly reminiscent of Barth's native California sunshine. But "City High" feels washed out and tired, which seems more in step with what I imagine Tulsa to be like. From there, Barth pushes the boundaries she had seemingly tied herself down to by emulating her folk heroes, and sings expansive, experimental songs with a psychedelic undercurrent. They say it takes your whole life to write your debut album (musician's wit, I suppose), but Barth took that saying to heart. Forager is an impressive debut by someone who knows exactly what she wants out of her music and life, even as the songs chronicle her journey to this point.



"Tulsa, Oklahoma may be deep in the Bible Belt, but it’s impossible to deny the fact that some seriously talented musical acts have come out of this town. These include legends like Leon Russell and JJ Cale, and contemporary artists like Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark, and John Moreland. Continuing in the vein of the unsuspecting town’s wellspring of talent is an up and coming artist by the name of Lauren Barth. Though she grew up outside of LA, Barth eventually made her way to Tulsa, and it was there that she began forging her own musical path.

Barth has a pension for writing catchy songs that straddle the line between pop, Americana, and folk, bringing to mind artists like Sheryl Crow, Liz Phair, and Lucinda Williams. This can be heard on Barth’s new album Forager, due out May 5th on Tulsa’s Horton Records. The album captures the sparse landscape of Oklahoma with plenty of twang, and its songs are often laid back as a sort of subtle salute to the Tulsa Sound put on the map by the likes of JJ Cale and others. One of the standout songs is “Want It Back”, which we are excited to premiere on Glide Magazinetoday. The song is a perfect album opener as it is infectious enough to make you sing along and carries enough power to make you wonder what Barth will do next. Both the video and the song bring to mind music videos of the 90’s, and it definitely feels like a radio hit from an era when mainstream radio didn’t totally suck."



"It ain't easy to be a girl in the USA," sings Lauren Barth on "Mama Don't Cry," the first release off of her debut album Forager, the video for which is premiering exclusively on the BGS. And you know what? It ain't. As Barth sings on "Mama," the American story -- unless you're like our president (aka a white man with a big bank account and a bigger ego) -- is often a harsh and difficult one, not filled with dogs and dreams but violence and broken hearts. Born in California but now living in Tulsa, Barth drinks from the well that nurtures Oklahoma's other modern folk treasures, like John Moreland and John Fullbright, who tap easily and steadily into the human condition. For Barth, it's the musical heroes -- "gods inside the radio," as she sings -- who keep us steady in a world that would rather dust the imperfect and uncomfortable under the rug than confront it head on.

Barth tackles a lot of these imperfect and uncomfortable ideas on "Mama Don't Cry" and in the video that accompanies it with its spiraling, psychedelic twist: far too many guns, one too many funerals, people who belong in their mother's arms, not jail cells. "Gimme a break," she sings with the folk steadiness of Lucinda Williams and the slack sly of Liz Phair. We all want a break ... from oppression, prejudice, and hate, to name a few. Sometimes, it just feels like it all keeps rising instead of receding. Luckily, folk music is stepping up to the plate not to dry our tears, but to give us hope that at least someone, anyone, is listening to us wail."