On Sunday, Nov. 19, the Moab Arts and Recreation Center (MARC) will host a live performance featuring Gabrielle Louise, a Colorado-based singer-songwriter, supported on electric guitar by Justin Thompson.
Louise’s music is rooted in folk, but enriched with complex layers of harmony and combined with elements from other genres. According to her bio, her sound has the earthy feel of early Joni Mitchell, and also veers into the spirited and versatile delivery of fellow genre-hopping artist Eva Cassidy.
Thompson specializes in Americana music, and the Albuquerque songwriter has been on tour with Louise. Scott Ibex, a guitar player known for his unique tapping technique, will open the show.
Ibex is especially known for his unique guitar playing style, but for this show, he will be playing jazz piano, accompanied by local drummer Ryan Barnum.
Ibex and Louise were introduced through a mutual friend, and Ibex said he is happy to support a fellow artist on tour.
“Gabby’s music is enchanting,” he said.
Ibex suggested the MARC as a venue. The space will provide an intimate setting, especially appropriate to Louise’s authentic and candid stage presence.
Her show will include music from her latest album, “If the Static Clears,” which was released in 2016. Louise describes the album as “a collection of narrative songs, some (of the narratives) personal, some from others, that create a landscape painting in music.”
It’s not surprising that Louise would draw a parallel between her music and a visual art form.
She is also a painter, poet, prose writer and orator. One of her albums, if ordered from her website, includes a book of not only song lyrics, but also poems and short stories written by the artist.
Louise said she couldn’t be more excited to play for the first time in Moab.
“One of my favorite books, ‘Desert Solitaire,’ is set in the area and it’s instilled in me an immense curiosity to spend time there,” she said.
Although this will be Louise’s first official performance in Moab, she did film a short clip of herself covering a song by Silvio Rodriguez called “Y Nada Mas” as she enjoyed the sunset from a view in Canyonlands National Park during a brief stop between tour dates.
She posted the video on her Facebook page with the comment, “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen something so beautiful as the sun going down over Canyonlands. I felt so inspired to sing this song about being satisfied with the present moment – just breathing and feeling the satisfaction of living a tiny ant-like existence among the grandeur of the universe.” The video can be found on Facebook or YouTube.
As well as sharing a musical calling, Ibex and Louise share a passion for activism.
Ibex founded a charitable concert series called “Music for a Cause,” which has raised money for Moab nonprofits since 2013. In the same vein, Louise is launching a project she calls “Made for Something More.”
“It is a new branding of an affinity I have had for connecting music with causes I care about,” she said.
She has chosen songs – both covers and originals – that resonate with specific social and political issues, such as deportation, feminism, and caring for veterans with PTSD. She’ll incorporate these songs into her shows and discuss their significance onstage, creating a platform to share her views and galvanize audiences to be invested in the causes.
“The Made for Something More Project is about celebrating the fullest potential of our society and planet,” Louise said. “It stems from the belief that women are made for more than oppressing, that the environment is made for more than resource extraction, that our veterans are made for more than discarding, our elderly for more than forgetting, and our immigrant population for more than our economic benefit.”
Concert-goers at the MARC on Sunday will get a taste of the project, which is named after one of Louise’s original songs. Lyrics to “Made for Something More” urge listeners to confront conflict and injustice.
“When appropriate, I try my best to connect local resources to my audiences so that if they are moved by the content, they know how to get involved,” she said.
Gabrielle Louise to perform at the MARC on Nov. 19
Gabby’s music is enchanting.
What: A live performance by singer-songwriter Gabrielle Louise
When: Sunday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m.
Where: Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North
Cost: Suggested donation of $15 at the door
For more information, go to: www.gabriellelouise.com.