Rob Laurens is a songwriter’s songwriter. With a keen eye for subtle, understated detail, Rob creates songs whose lyrics resonate like the words of a writer; his songs tell stories, often expressing the kind of ideas and complexity of emotions more typically tackled in the work of a novelist. However, his writing is not over-burdened or pretentious. Rather, Rob creates songs that are subtle and insightful, with meanings that deepen with repeated listening.
Steeped in the knowledge of many kinds of American traditional music – especially Appalachian ballads – Rob seeks to emulate the best folk songs, which possess these traits. Rob has lived and traveled throughout the United States, and has had the opportunity to spend time learning folk music from Appalachian fiddle and banjo players, blues guitarists, and from recordings in the Library of Congress. Along with his appreciation of the poetry and myth of American folk song, these experiences have helped him develop what has been described by Dave Palmater of WUMB 91.9 FM Boston as, “the rare ability to write songs that seem like they’ve always been there.”
To accompany his performances of these songs, Rob uses a number of instruments, including piano, harmonica, and a cache of vintage guitars. He sings in a tenor voice with a natural, quick vibrato that is at times reminiscent of old-time Appalachian singing.
Rob has won the New Folk Award for Songwriting at both the Kerrville Folk Festival (TX) and its sister festival, The Columbia River Festival (WA). He has returned to play the main stage at these and many other festivals, including the Strawberry, High Sierra, and Napa Valley Festivals in California. He tours both east and west coasts, playing such clubs as The Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, California, and Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts.