What was it that made it clear just a line or two into Carbon Glacier that this was something really good? It was original, first of all, both the guitar part and the melody. And it was strong, clear, very sure-footed. It was not pretentious, precious, or clever. It was recorded very well. Such were the first impressions, estimations that have only improved with time.
And that wasn't even the latest album, Year of Meteors, so after a few songs, we were led there. The diversity was very satisfying, yet the continuity strong. Sounded like a young artist who really had a sense of her evolving self. There was a very free spirit to the tracking and the arrangements, a really good atmosphere. There is a palpable feeling of harmony.
That was a relief, since an interview was already booked. It's still a blessed shock, every time an artist that's new to us goes into the player and a beautiful sound comes out of the speakers. And we're still very grateful when that happens.
Laura Veirs is a product of the Seattle music community. She is a friend of many musical luminaries of that area, like Bill Frisell, Robin Holcomb, Wayne Horvitz, Danny Barnes, Keith Lowe and many others. She is one of the rare songwriters ever signed to Nonesuch Records. She appears to have come up through the folk channel years ago, very gracefully and convincingly into a more pop sound. This is well-illustrated by a great noisy guitar solo on "Rialto" on the new record, where the melody, handclaps and other friendly sounds keep it anchored in a very beautiful sonic bed.
Producer Tucker Martine is one of our favorites, he's created many memorable records for his years. (Mount Analog is considered by many to be an underground classic recording.) Along with the vision of the artist and her band (Steve Moore on keyboards and Karl Blau on bass and guitars) drummer producer Martine helped fashion the footbridge between the very soft and sometimes very hard sounds the songs have called forth. One brilliant thread of continuity is that the singing doesn't seem to change to accommodate that shift: Veirs sings strongly on the quiet stuff, and not more loudly on the very electric numbers, and it ties it all together in a subtle way.
It's a very West Coast group, and so sound the brilliant songs, to this listener. There's an inspired freedom there, music from the edge of somewhere. It's truly great, this new Year of Meteors, rife with moments of unspeakable beauty and graceful strength. Along with jewels like Joe Henry and Rufus Wainwright, we consider Laura Veirs to be among our treasured finds.