Rising Stars [Issue
Sea, Sky, and Songs By
Year Of Meteors
Listening to Laura
Veirs album, Year of Meteors, one notices an abundance of nature imagery.
From song titles
like Fire Snakes, Cool Water, Lake Swimming,
to such imagery as When we dance / Eels and seagrass float on by / Im
1000 leagues beneath the sea (from Galaxies), the album seems
like an exploration of the great outdoors as a metaphor for life.
In actuality, Laura Veirs studied geology during her college years. She uses
imagery related to geology, as well as more typical biological images of nature
in her songs, and titled her last album Carbon Glacier after a beautiful,
dirty black and white glacier on the northern slopes of Mount Rainier.
It was during a geological expedition during her studies that Veirs had an epiphany,
the realization that she was meant to channel her love of nature into music
I graduated from college in 97 and moved to Seattle, says
the Colorado-born singer-songwriter. I tried to keep my band from college
together - we were a punk band - all women - it was really fun - but I lost
a couple of them, and the drummer and I tried to keep it going with other people,
but it didnt work.
Then I started on my solo stuff and started getting interested in country
Veirs got into the Seattle music scene, playing house concerts and coffee shops
and cutting her first album. Her next effort, 2001s Trials and Travails
of Orphan Mae, which she describes as, a country folk concept album about
a woman traveling through the Old West brought her some accolades in the
local press. Veirs gradually put together her band, the Tortured Souls, whose
drummer, Tucker Martine, would also become Veirs producer and trusted
musical collaborator. Hes a wonderful producer and he has such a
real way of bringing life to the songs.
Veirs credits Martine with helping her move to the Bella Union label for her
next albums, Troubled By The Fire and Carbon Glacier. She began to tour a lot,
especially in Europe. They seem to respect artists more over there - I
really like playing there, she says.
With Year of Meteors now out on Nonesuch, Laura Veirs and the Tortured Souls
have been touring in support of the album, which is bringing her greater visibility
in the States. Veirs tours so much in fact, that when at home in the Seattle
area, she prefers to just chill out and not go to local shows. But
she says of the Seattle music scene, It seems that people are collaborating
more across cliques - lots of cross-pollination - a style that I
find really exciting.
When Veirs is told that people find her lyrics poetic, she hastens to explain
that she writes not poetry, but private poems. I write in my book all
the time, but I never type them up and Ive never tried publishing any
of them. [But] a lot of the songs are derived from these poems. Ive considered
publishing them as a little zine for my most hardcore fans.
Year Of Meteors