River of Doubt
Laura Jean Thompson Laura Jean Thompson is a Chicago based singer-songwriter. Her original Americana music incorporates most strongly the eclectic folk, country, gospel and rock influences of the Americana music genre. Influenced by the edginess of Patti Smith, the folk artistry of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, and the relatively saccharin phrasings of Tony Hatch's "Downtown," as popularized by Petula Clark, Thompson was a reluctant artist as an adult. But, she says, "After too many years of only working I came to my senses and realized that I wanted to sing." In the midst of a successful career in school counseling and psychology, she mastered a handful of chords on the guitar and emerged from her living room onto the Chicago open mic scene, performing favorite covers and an occasional original song. Laura is currently promoting her original album, River of Doubt, recorded by Grammy Award winner Brian Leach at Joyride Studios in Chicago. Many of Laura's songs were performed in the month long Four Women Only songwriter showcase, of which Laura was one of the featured singer-songwriters at Uncommon Ground on Devon in Chicago, also the site of her CD release show. Laura has played at other Chicago venues including the Looseleaf Lounge, Let Them Eat Chocolate, and Uncommon Ground's Clark location. For several months, Laura played a weekly solo show at Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap in Hyde Park. "My first strong memory of music is riding in a car, listening to the radio and singing along to 'Coat of Many Colors' by Dolly Parton. I was 8. I remember being moved by the simplicity of that song. It is such a beautiful short story encapsulating perseverance, love and gratitude." Like Ms. Parton, Laura strives to tell her own stories, and portray stories about the human experience through her songwriting. In her own song, "I Want to Know", Laura renders in song one of life's big questions, highlighting her poetic storytelling. The mood of her instrumentation matches her lyrics in titles such as "Goin' to Hell" which asks, "So you think that you're goin' to hell, you're already there, can't you tell?" From "Goin' to Hell's" haunting baseline, to "When You Look At Me (Ode to Rumi)'s" soft strumming, her musical musings are compelling. Audiences' uniformly positive responses have encouraged her in the direction of full-blown songwriting. She now writes for more complex instrumentation and for other singers. Laura has said, "Music seems magical in it's power to evoke memories and emotions, as well as to heal and inspire. It's a gift to receive and to share." Laura continues to book gigs to perform locally in Chicago and more broadly across the country as she collaborates with fellow musicians and writes new songs.