A deeply personal account of Laura's journey to Graceland, through the American South, exploring the role music played in saving her life.
What happened was this; I left my job; I left my marriage and left my home; I fell in love with someone new, only to find that he was not at all the person he claimed to be. And then I lost my mind.
This is an enquiry into the history, science and musicology of our love of sad music. It will follow the journey Laura made to Graceland, through the American South, looking at how different musical genres - from the blues to Sacred Harp, Gospel, Soul, Country and Rock treat the matter of sadness, and in doing so comes to understand her own.
Beautifully written, moving and wide-ranging, Sad Songs explores the sacred role that music plays in our emotional lives.
I love Laura Barton
Wonderful writing - Independent
Absolutely stunning - The Times
Laura Barton is a writer and broadcaster. A feature writer and music columnist for the Guardian for more than decade, she now writes for a variety of publications including the Guardian, the Observer, the New York Times, 1843 magazine, the Telegraph and the Financial Times. She is also a contributing editor at Q magazine. In 2010 she published a novel, Twenty-One Locks, which received a Betty Trask Award. She is a regular contributor to Radio 4 and Radio 3, for whom she has written and presented documentaries on subjects as diverse as the musicians Abner Jay and Karen Dalton, the allure of the tomboy, the role of silence in Shakespeare, and a three-part examination of confidence. Her series on music and landscape, Laura Barton's Notes From a Musical Island, has now run for three seasons on Radio 4. She speaks regularly at festivals and universities, and since 2018 she has curated the literary stage at Green Man festival. She also moonlights in A&R for a music publishing company, and has signed some of contemporary music's most sought-after acts.