Friday, January 15, 2010

Laura Veirs, This Week's Aural Fix

I know, I know: I'm all over the place with my "Album of the Week," "Track of the Week," and now "Aural Fix" shenanigans... I like to keep my options open and just give you new stuff I happen to like weekly, whether it be an album, a track, a compilation, a band, a monkey with cymbals, etc.

Actually, I'm not the only one who's been all over the place. Laura Veirs, whose latest album, July Flame, came out this week, has been getting loads of press lately. Veirs has literally been all over the place. She lived for a year in Malaysia with her family and trekked through Asia before falling in love with China and studying Mandarin Chinese and geology as an undergrad. She completed her senior geology project in a Chinese desert region that happened to be non-Mandarin-speaking, which made her skills as a translator rather null and void. Fortunately for Veirs, she bought a guitar in Beijing and discovered a love of song writing.

Veirs prefers touring in Europe because of its sense of community (group dinners before shows, etc.), but it hasn't stopped her from traveling around the United States with The Decemberists and Blind Pilot. She was even in Columbia in October at The Blue Note. (I saw her after the show in the lobby but missed her opening act.)

I caught an interview with Oregonian Veirs last Saturday on NPR's Weekend Edition. The music from the new album is melodic, with My Morning Jacket's Jim James guesting on some of the tracks. Last time I mentioned Veirs in this music blog, I compared her vocals to Suzanne Vega, and I think this still holds true—hers is an icy voice like frost on grass—but it adds an otherworldly glow to her very real songs about nature and the great outdoors. (A "july flame" is a type of peach Veirs saw in her local Portland farmers' market.)

"July Flame"

Download "July Flame" [mp3]

"Life Is Good Blues"

Download "Life Is Good Blues" [mp3]

"Sleeper in the Valley"

Download "Sleeper in the Valley" [mp3]

On a side note, Veirs is expecting a baby in April. She's keeping a blog on her site about touring with her own little july flame.

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