Puremusic: That was a really, really great show in Nashville the other night at the Basement. The Saltbreakers are in fine form.
Laura Veirs: Oh, thanks. Yeah, they're a great band.
PM: And the CD [Saltbreakers], I think it's the best of a great lot.
LV: Oh, that's really nice to hear. Thanks for saying that.
PM: You and I were talking a little bit that night about how everybody has their favorites inevitably, but I think it's really clear that not only the songwriting keeps evolving, but the playing and the chemistry keeps evolving. And it's very clear to me on this record, as I'm sure it is to you.
LV: Well, I always like to feel like my most recent one is the best. I think it feels very defeating if you feel like you haven't done your best work in your current days.
LV: I've never had that experience, but I'm sure that if I did feel that way I probably wouldn't put the record out because I would want it to be what I felt was my best work, of course.
LV: But it is a bit tough when people come up and say, "You missed the mark on this one, but good job on Year of Meteors," "I loved Carbon Glacier, but I don't know about Saltbreakers"--it's a little tough. But at the same time, you just have to get a thick skin in this business, because someone is always coming up with something that they want to say that's not necessarily what I want to hear, like right after the show. I mean, they say--like in Europe, in particular, they're very straightforward with their commentary.
PM: To say the least.
LV: Like, "I'm so sad about your show. Why didn't you play 'Snow Camping'?"
LV: I'm sorry, I can't play every song of every record. And they didn't even request it, but that's beside the point. My point is it's great when people appreciate the new work, because that's what we're most excited about.
PM: Right. But the other thing is that, hey, if you want to hear it really bad, just yell it out, will you? We'll see if we can do it.
PM: Aside from being very unique and very good, I mean, you're very lucky, right, to have such an interesting band of players, these guys!
LV: Oh, yeah. They are really the cream of the crop, and I feel very lucky, like you said, yes, to have them around.
PM: Are they at arms length at the moment?
PM: Okay. Well, I won't worry about embarrassing them a little, and we'll talk about them.
PM: Let's talk about drummer extraordinaire and producer Tucker Martine first. What an unusual brainy kind of emotive producer drummer you have in him.
LV: Oh, yeah. He's just amazing. He's really fun to make records with, and he's a really patient guy, and just really charismatic and personable, so people just love to make records with him. He's also a great drummer, and I think that's one of his maybe a little underappreciated things. I think people don't know as much about his drumming as they do about his production. But I think they're equally good.
PM: I agree. Live, as well as the studio, he's an impeccable percussionist. I mean, he's really rock solid/creative, just split right down the middle. I just love him.
LV: Yeah. He's got a great feel, but also he just never makes mistakes. And I mean, I always make mistakes at the show, but I almost never hear him make a mistake. And it's not to say that that's what I need in my band, but he just doesn't do it, and I always find that really incredible.
PM: It's true, yeah, because it's so easy to make mistakes, I mean, come on.
LV: Yeah. He's very focused in the moment.
PM: Tucker being an actual Nashvillian--and God knows they're rare enough--it was a kick meeting his songwriter dad, Layng Martine.
LV: Yeah, Layng is a kick. He's a really funny guy.
PM: And you were saying that night that he's had quite a number of cuts in his career, and that's an interesting legacy. And in the small world category, it was even stranger for me that this other guy also named Layng that I'd met at a very small dinner party that week, turned out to be his brother.
LV: And you were at the dinner party?
PM: Yeah. I was at the dinner party, and I was hanging out with this guy Layng, and then I see him at the show, and say, "Hey Layng, what's up?" And I think, wait a minute, now he's sitting with another guy named Layng. They can't both be called Layng. And then it came out that it was Tucker's brother, and it was just one of those small world moments.
LV: Yeah, for sure. There are three brothers, and Layng, the oldest one, lives in Nashville, and just moved back there from New York. They all grew up there. And then Mac, the youngest one, actually just moved to Portland, where Tucker lives.
PM: [laughs] Yeah, really, to become further enmeshed, right. It's a small world.
LV: But they're all in music of some kind. It's a musical family.