Classic finger-picking and Laura Veirs' girly vocals characterize the feather-light songs she's written about sweet summer days on her seventh album, July Flame. The songs explore desire and happiness in stripped-down folk form, caressing questionable emotions with scents of firewood smoke, extended sunshine, and humid mid-summer evenings - all named after a variety of peach Veirs spied at her local farmer's market. After 10 years in the music business, touring is nothing new to the Portland artist, but the trip supporting this album is different for two reasons: first, this album is being called her best; and second, Veirs is eight months pregnant. I caught Veirs on the phone on a Sunday afternoon, when she was taking a break at her parents' place in Colorado, to chat about the album and the experience of touring while expecting.
“I’ve been really tired,” she says, noting she’s made lots of time for rest and good food. “And I can’t lift the amps.” Also, her huge baby bump pushes her guitar out at an awkward angle. Otherwise, though, the mom-to-be says touring prego hasn’t been much trouble. As for the album, she offered a few thoughts, compiled below in list form:
- Veirs listened to The Beatles, The Shins, and lots of country-blues while writing July Flame.
- Veirs isn’t a fan of writing expeditions, but she does like to "go out into the world and be awake.”
- Her favorite place to visit: The Gorge for seagazing and Forest Park for an inner-city woodsy retreat
- She and the band are currently covering Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Goin’ Back Again.”
- July Flame is being called her best work and she agrees. “It’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable singing," she says, "but I think there’s finally an underlying relaxed quality to my voice.”
- The album often references smoke and flame, and nighttime creatures like bats and moths that fly around in the night pollinating.
- Although summer is the overarching theme, the album's mood isn't all smiles. “It can be melancholy any time of year," she says. "This album features a variety of emotions, not all just happy.”
- Veirs wrote songs for July Flame on a variety of instruments, including a baritone guitar, banjo, and piano. She says, “It’s like changing colors or mediums as an artist, or switching to watercolors instead of oil paints."
Laura Veirs w/Halls of Flames
Café du Nord
2174 Market, SF