The ‘Gum Drop XXXIX: Hear New Laura Marling, Win An Ovation Acoustic Guitar

It’s difficult believing Laura Marling just turned 18 this year, but it’s true. Also hard to believe, the assured, sharp British folk-pop singer-songwriter’s full-length debut Alas, I Cannot Swim, which came out in the UK in February, is just getting its Stateside debut this summer (its out via iTunes now, Astralwerks in August). In this week’s Drop we offered “Blackberry Stone,” a haunting, lo-fi UK B-side you won’t find on the album proper. We also asked Marling a few questions about the track and her idea of what it takes to make a good love or falling-out-of-love song. You can read and listen here. Alas, I Cannot Swim is out now on iTunes and 8/18 via Astralwerks. (Remember, though, this song isn’t on it.) If you’re in the NYC area, you can catch Marling 6/16 at Glasslands in Brooklyn and 6/18 at the Mercury Lounge. This is her:

This week’s Drop also offered the chance to win An Ovation acoustic guitar from Brendan James.

Selected by iTunes Editorial Staff as one of the top new singer/songwriters in 2008, Brendan James is set to release his debut album The Day is Brave next month. Rising from his humble beginnings of sneaking into New York City hotel ballrooms to find pianos to practice on, James’s debut includes “Hero’s Song” (from Eddie Vedder’s Body Of War soundtrack) and the single, “Green.” Click here to buy The Ballroom Break-In. This is what those records look like:


His new one The Day Is Brave is in stores 6/3 via Decca/Velour. And, for videos, photos and updates visit the official site. As you may have guessed by now, this week’s ‘Gum Drop giveaway involves James. One winner gets signed copies of the aforementioned The Ballroom Break-In and Body Of War, along with a signed/matted original Brendan James photograph print, and an unsigned Ovation Celebrity CC24-5 mid-depth bowl cutaway acoustic-electric guitar. This is what the booty looks like. (You should be able to differentiate between the photo and the guitar.)

More info on the guitar here. You can enter to win it and the James booty by clicking here. And there’s still time to win an iPod and Willie Nelson’s career spanning One Hell Of A Ride 4-CD, 100-song box set if you enter here.