Page last updated at 17:12 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 18:12 UK

Laura Marling's 'medieval' U-turn

By Georgie Rogers
6 Music News reporter

Laura Marling
Alas I Cannot Swim was released when Laura Marling was just 18 years old

Mercury Prize-nominated folk singer Laura Marling has given fans and critics a taster of her second album.

Despite earlier hints of taking a "medieval" direction on the record, Marling said: "I did say that, but we changed our minds, thankfully."

She showcased new songs on Tuesday at a gig at London's Royal Festival Hall.

The likes of Andrew Bird, Mumford and Sons, Johnny Flynn, Peggy Sue, Alessi's Ark, Pete Roe and folk collective Sons Of Noel & Adrian took to the stage.

'Medieval' turnaround

The as-yet-untitled follow-up to Alas I Cannot Swim is currently in the mixing stages, due for release in February 2010.

When asked about the possible "medieval" direction, she told BBC 6 Music: "Gosh, I shot myself in the foot saying that.

"I was doing a play-through of the songs to Ethan [Johns], who just produced my album, and we suddenly went on a mad brainstorm and decided that 'medieval' was definitely the direction we should be going in."

But Marling added: "Thankfully we came to our senses."

More instrumentation

The folk songstress is currently backed by a band which includes two members of Mumford And Sons - an upcoming folk quartet from London, who release their debut album Sigh No More in October.

It also includes other well-known members in folk circles, for example Tom Fiddle from Noah And The Whale, and solo artist Pete Roe.

He produced a lot of albums I was head over heels in love with, so it was quite a step to meet a hero like that
Laura Marling, speaking about producer Ethan Johns

"The vibe of it is pretty different to the old stuff," she explained. "There's a lot more instrumentation. There's still a few solo songs but it's different."

Working with a hero

Ethan Johns - famed for his work with Ryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright and Kings Of Leon - debuted one of his own songs, titled Hello Sunshine, at the gig.

Marling said working with one of her idols was a bit overwhelming at first: "Ethan has been a hero of mine long before I met him.

"He produced a lot of albums I was head over heels in love with, so it was quite a step to meet a hero like that, but of course he fulfilled every expectation and he was a wonderful chap."

As for the final product, she added: "I think we've worked really well together. He's very, very clever and an incredible musician so that's been exciting."

Marling plans to head out on a big tour next year.

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