“I was always much more confident as a guitar player,” says a notably shy Linton in a phone interview. “Playing the guitar seemed like less pressure. I knew that my voice was unique and I was worried to put it out there.”
Linton’s voice—best described as a slightly more tremulous female version of folk legend Nick Drake’s ear-catching pipes—has turned out to be one of her strongest musical assets.
There are throngs of female singer-songwriters with acoustic guitars, but only a select few—even on the local level—can hold an audience and build a following. When it comes to vocals, unique is not a liability. Unique is as good as it gets.
Audiences have been quite receptive to Linton’s warm acoustic music. Linton has built a sizable local fan base doing radio appearances and live performances in Salt Lake City and her hometown of Logan. She generally plays solo. However, she occasionally guests stars with a full band.
Linton has won many listeners by playing with touring acts at venues like Kilby Court, although she does admit sometimes the experience can be slightly intimidating.
“Sometimes when I play after a full electric band that’s a little louder than me, I still feel a little self-conscious. Like the audience was more receptive to the first band. But overall, I’ve received so much support. It’s been really amazing.”
In 2006, Linton self-released her first EP, Shackleton. “I recorded everything myself and hand-stitched the cases, so that limited how many I could produce. I know it was just home recordings, but I’ve gotten some good feedback on that EP.”
Linton admits that her greatest obstacle at this time is finding the time to book shows and record music, due to her busy schedule as a full-time biological engineering student at Utah State University.
“Doing something scientific is a pretty heavy duty major because of all the labs. I’m still really busy, but this year hasn’t been as hectic as the past few. I actually feel like I have a little time to breathe.”
Bioengineering is not the choice of major one would expect from a honey-toned singer songwriter such as Linton, but it is a well documented fact that those who have an aptitude for math are likely to have an aptitude for music.
Technical knowledge of music aside, Linton’s aptitude for writing catchy, literate songs with a luminous bit of soul is what hooks listeners. Although seemingly incompatible on the surface, Linton insists that she is equal parts bioengineer and musician. After many years of eating, breathing, and dreaming about mathematical formulas and the periodic table, Linton says her internal equilibrium is beginning to shift.
The musician, she readily admits, is steadily gaining ground and taking over.
“School is pretty intense,” Linton says with a dry laugh, “but music is really important to me. Between my sophomore and freshman year of college, it became a real priority. I’m looking forward to being done with school so that I’ll have more time to and energy to devote to my songs.”
Linton plans to pursue a master’s degree in bio-engineering next year, but hopes to be finished by spring 2009. She admits that she’s still unclear about her future professional plans, but definitely wants to finish her education. On the musical front after Linton obtains her master’s degree, she plans to tour and record more music.
“I’ve done a series of mini-tours, including a show over the summer in L.A. that was lots of fun. Maybe next time I record something, I can get a little assistance. Home recordings are wonderful, but I have a lot to learn about the recording process.”
Linton says shopping for a record label is inconceivable at this time because of her heavy class load, but in the future, she won’t rule it out.
Libbie Linton @ Crumb Brothers house concert, Logan, Saturday March 1, 7:30 p.m. Call for location: 435-792-4996