Over drinks at a sterile hotel bar on Manhattan's Upper West Side, British-born folkie Laura Marling mentions that she spent the better part of last year in pseudo-retirement, in Los Angeles. Unsatisfied with the early stages of a record she'd started to make in December of 2013, she scrapped what she had and "forced" herself to take a break. It was the first time she'd settled down in one place for more than three weeks since she left her home in the rural town of Eversley to begin her musical career. Starting at age 16, she quickly churned out four albums of sprightly, nuanced tunes in the tradition of Bert Jansch, and established a reputation as one of the brightest young voices in a resurgent London folk scene. "I spent a year away from everybody that had anything to do with music," says the soft-spoken musician, now 24. "I just lived a normal life again. All of a sudden I was an alone and insecure twentysomething in Los Angeles, just like everyone else."