Laura Veirs - July Flame

Laura Veirs - July Flame
Genre: Pop\Rock
Duration: 43:57
Artist: Laura Veirs
Album: July Flame
Release Date: January 12, 2010
Recording Location: Flora, Portland, OR; The Church House, Austin, TX; The Church House, Austin, TX; The Church House, Austin, TX
Styles: Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Alternative/Indie Rock, Americana

In some ways, July Flame might seem to mark a kind of scaling back for Laura Veirs.

After a few years on Nonesuch, she has returned to the indie world, and where those Nonesuch releases found her pursuing a more band-oriented, rockish direction, this one harks back to Veirs' folkie beginnings; the arrangements are centered squarely around her own acoustic picking. That's not to imply that July Flame is any kind of step backwards, though; Veirs' producer/boyfriend, Tucker Martine, is still helping her to turn her visions into reality, as he has done since 2003's Troubled by the Fire, and there's a full complement of players supporting those visions here -- they're simply deployed in a more subtle manner. Veirs cut her regular band loose before the making of July Flame, mostly for logistical reasons, hence the change of direction. There are a couple of relatively rhythmic cuts here, like the title track, and the backbeat-driven "Summer is the Champion," whose pounding piano, ‘60s pop guitar, and horn punctuation evoke Sgt. Pepper's-era Beatles, but they are exceptions to the rule. When Veirs sings "I want nothing more than to float with you" on "Little Deschutes" (Deschutes is a county in her and Martine's home state of Oregon, in case you were wondering), it can be seen as both an emotional agenda and a musical mission statement. In terms of the latter, a number of tunes on July Flame seem to be rooted in -- if not overtly inspired by -- Veirs and Martine's state of romantic bliss, especially the dreamy "When You Give Your Heart." If their personal connection is anything like their musical one it's easy to understand why; Martine brings just the right touches to the tracks, with eerie backing vocals, coloristic percussion, and evocative strings popping up at just the right moments and then disappearing again when they're no longer needed. There are no wasted notes anywhere on July Flame, neither in Martine's production nor Veirs' tightly written (but still expressionistically poetic) compositions.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
I Can See Your Tracks / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs2:58
July Flame / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs feat: Alberta Arts Singers3:45
Sun is King / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs3:20
Where Are You Driving? / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs2:53
Life is Good Blues / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs2:35
Silo Song / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs2:39
Little Deschutes / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs feat: Tosca String Quartet4:07
Summer is the Champion / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs4:25
When You Give Your Heart / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs3:05
Sleeper In the Valley / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs feat: Tosca String Quartet4:02
Wide-Eyed, Legless / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs2:35
Carol Kaye / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs3:19
Make Something Good / Laura VeirsLaura Veirs feat: Tosca String Quartet4:14

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