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Folk/Americana - Released February 10, 2015 | Raven Marching Band

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 23, 2020 | Raven Marching Band

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Folk/Americana - Released August 23, 2005 | Raven Marching Band

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Folk/Americana - Released February 10, 2015 | Raven Marching Band

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Folk/Americana - Released March 17, 2007 | Raven Marching Band

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Folk/Americana - Released January 12, 2010 | Raven Marching Band

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. © J. Allen /TiVo
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Folk/Americana - Released April 13, 2018 | Raven Marching Band

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Folk/Americana - Released August 20, 2013 | Raven Marching Band

After the sparse acoustic approach of 2010's July Flame and Tumble Bee: Laura Veirs Sings Folk Songs for Children in 2011, singer/songwriter Laura Veirs returns to her electric guitar on Warp & Weft. She delivers a dozen new songs that wind through skillfully textured, slightly psychedelicized rock, pop, and Americana, covering everything from the fears and joys of motherhood -- she had her second child in 2012 -- to disillusionment to homages to heroes to gratitude and spiritual awareness. Produced by husband Tucker Martine, the pair enlist an all-star cast that includes drummer Brian Blade, My Morning Jacket, k.d. lang, Neko Case, Nate Query of the Decemberists, Jeremy Kittel, Rob Burger, and Karl Blau. "Sun Song," a shuffling country rocker, is a Veirs trademark, though its layered strings are an exotic touch amid the weave of ringing electric and nylon-string guitars. She celebrates the landscape and the emergence from a long winter with Case breezily backing her. The almost nursery rhyme-like melody of "Finster Saw the Angels" celebrates the late artist and mystic, and offers a prayer for guidance as Burger's accordion, Carl Broemel's pedal steel, and her own country picking underscore the harmony vocals with lang. The elliptical rocker, "Dorothy of the Island," borrows the chorus from the traditional "Motherless Children," but wraps it in a warm, post-psych elasticity that belies the song's lyric concerns; Case's transcendent backing vocal almost steals the show. "That Alice" is a straight-ahead rocker that celebrates the life, musical and spiritual contributions of Alice Coltrane; Case's backing vocals add a near Baroque pop quality that is blindsided by a screaming guitar solo from Broemel. "Sadako Folding Cranes," is a relatively sparse and poignant tome about Sadako Sasaki, the two-year-old who survived Hiroshima only to die a decade later of complications from leukemia. During her lifetime, she folded a thousand paper cranes in the wish that for world peace would be realized. Veirs and Jim James' harmonies meld seamlessly, creating an almost otherworldly quality. Set-closer "White Cherry" is musical acknowledgment of Coltrane's influence as it weds modal jazz -- complete with a sitar, upright bass, harp samples and two drummers -- to Veirs' own expansive melody; her lyric celebrates the middle path between nature, spirit, and flesh. Warp & Weft disp-lays Veirs' sophisticated songcraft (though "America" falls short for its obviousness) is adorned by diverse textures, expert musicianship, and a generous use of space; it's almost almost perfectly balanced. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 28, 2020 | Raven Marching Band

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Folk/Americana - Released August 24, 2004 | Raven Marching Band

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Country - Released October 29, 2008 | Raven Marching Band

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Folk/Americana - Released November 8, 2011 | Raven Marching Band

Most new parents are a bit lost when faced with the dilemma of weeding out the good children’s music from the bad. For musician couples, like singer/songwriter Laura Viers and her producer/husband Tucker Martine, the solution is simple; make your own. On the appropriately titled Tumble Bee: Laura Veirs Sings Folk Songs for Children, Viers and Martine, along with special guests Béla Fleck, Basia Bulat, Colin Meloy (Decemberists), and Jim James (My Morning Jacket), explore some of the genre’s oldest tunes, including work songs (“Jump Down Spin Around”), Civil War tunes (“Soldier’s Joy”), and even a calypso (“Jamaica Farewell”). Each cut is tastefully arranged and never cloying (kudos for allowing “All the Pretty Little Horses” to retain its subtle darkness), and Viers' simple, honest delivery helps to keep the mood fun, yet stable and sweet, without the inevitable sugar rush. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 11, 2012 | Raven Marching Band

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Folk/Americana - Released January 30, 2018 | Raven Marching Band

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 14, 2020 | Raven Marching Band

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 30, 2020 | Raven Marching Band

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 26, 2020 | Raven Marching Band

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Folk/Americana - Released August 6, 2013 | Raven Marching Band

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Folk/Americana - Released February 27, 2018 | Raven Marching Band

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Folk/Americana - Released August 6, 2013 | Raven Marching Band

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Laura Veirs in the magazine
  • case/lang/veirs
    case/lang/veirs Neko Case, k.d. lang and Laura Veirs come together for a powerful collaboration.