Tiny Sarah Lawrence College, just north of New York City, has produced more than its share of recognizable names in the music business. AOR goddess Carly Simon, 1960s teen-angst queen Lesley Gore, and Yoko Ono are all alumnae. Add to that list Laura Webster. The Shaker Heights native isn't famous, but if she keeps writing songs as pleasant as the five on her debut CD, she just might have to vacate her job as music instructor at Hathaway Brown School and do this nonsense full-time.
Coming Home lands Webster, 31, squarely in the folksinger bin. Only her own rhythm guitar and Rob Grimwade's lead guitar accompany her clear soprano, and the songs are personal but uncomplicated. Yet Webster gained experience in bands playing rock, funk, and blues in and around N.Y.C., which suggests that she could someday rise above the "girl with the guitar" stereotype. A full-length follow-up, more lavishly arranged, is already in the planning stage. For now, however, we can enjoy the uptempo "Mamma," the jazz-influenced "Sugar Daddy," and the heartfelt "Nation of Two."