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Tuesday, 24 September 2013 12:00

Laura Veirs 9/24/13 + Video

Laura Veirs 9/24/13
Written by Erin Frank
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  • Date Recorded: September 24, 2013
  • Artist / Band: Laura Veirs
  • Hosting Show: Wax Lyrical
  • Sound: Dan Kinney
  • Video: Ed Kleinberg

A quiet powerhouse, Laura Veirs has released nine studio albums, including a feature-length film soundtrack and a compilation of traditional children's songs on which she collaborated with artists such as Béla Fleck and Colin Meloy.

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Based in Portland, Veirs performs a brand of folk rooted more firmly in traditional rhythms than in the atonal wend and yelp of the genre's neo-interpreters. The track "Finster Saw the Angels" plays like an Appalachian fable, albeit one about the artist for R.E.M's album "Reckoning," the end folding closed gracefully with a harmonica/guitar/fiddle ensemble.

The pastoral influence is strong on tracks such as "Sun Song," even amid a not-so-traditional steel drum, and especially on "Shape Shifter," which describes the movement of thousands-strong flocks of starlings who fly and swoop in undulating airborne waves to signal the approach of winter, a phenomenon made even more beautiful by its name: a murmuration.

The lyrical content of Veirs' music reaches beyond classic Americana, though; "Sadako Folding Cranes" is a haunting retelling of the story of Sadako Sasaki, the Japanese girl stricken with leukemia after exposure to the radiation blast of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Sadako died before she was able to fold her one thousand paper cranes, but the plaque on the statue of her at Hiroshima Peace Park carries the same inscription as Veirs' refrain: "This is our cry. This is our prayer."

Her latest album, "Warp and Weft," was written and recorded during Veirs' second pregnancy and stands fast with a bare, tough warmth. Produced by husband Tucker Martine in their home, it was released in August 2013 by Veirs' own record label, Raven Marching Band Records.

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