Laura Veirs

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Laura Veirs
Veirs singing and playing acoustic guitar onstage
Veirs performing at Walter's on Washington, Houston, 2007
Background information
Birth nameLaura Pauline Veirs
Born (1973-10-24) October 24, 1973 (age 48)
Colorado Springs, Colorado U.S.
OriginPortland, Oregon U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • musician
  • writer
Years active1999–present
Labels
Websitelauraveirs.com

Laura Pauline Veirs[1] (born October 24, 1973)[2] is an American singer-songwriter based out of Portland, Oregon.[3] She is known for her folk/alternative country records and live performances as well as her collaboration with Neko Case and k.d. lang on the case/lang/veirs project. Veirs has written a children's book and hosts a podcast about parenting and performing.

Early life and education[edit]

Veirs graduated from General William J. Palmer High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[4]

In 1997, Veirs graduated from Carleton College, where she was a geology major and studied Mandarin Chinese.[4][5] During this time, she worked as a translator for a geological expedition in China.[6]

Career[edit]

Growing up, Veirs heard folk-country, classical, and pop music at home; however, she did not "listen seriously," she says, until in her 20s.[7]

At Carleton, she joined all-girl punk band, Rair Kx![8] After graduation, her taste moved to older country and folk, and during her time in China she began writing lyrics.[7]

In 1999, Veirs released a self-titled album, which was recorded live and featuring just herself and guitar. 2003 saw the release of Troubled by the Fire, accompanied by veteran musicians such as Bill Frisell. She then signed to Nonesuch and released Carbon Glacier. She also signed to Bella Union for European distribution. Year of Meteors followed in August 2005, and was selected by the New York Times as a "critic's choice".[3]

Veirs released her final album for Nonesuch, Saltbreakers, in 2007.

In January 2010, Veirs released July Flame on her own Raven Marching Band Records.[9] The album received praise from The Washington Post among other publications.[10]

In November 2011, Veirs released the album Tumble Bee: Laura Veirs Sings Folk Songs for Children. The album presented mostly traditional songs, and featured an array of guest musicians, including Colin Meloy, Jim James and Béla Fleck.[11] Tumble Bee won a Parents' Choice Award in 2012.[citation needed]

In September 2012, her first feature film soundtrack was released: Hello I Must Be Going, for the movie of the same name. The exclusive soundtrack featured eight instrumental versions of previously released songs, five catalog favorites and one new vocal track, "Spring Song".

In August 2013, she released Warp & Weft. In 2015, she worked on the album Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens. Veirs' long term collaborator and then husband, Tucker Martine, engineered some of the album.

Veirs was lead songwriter[citation needed] for the 2016 album case/lang/veirs, a collaborative project between Veirs, k.d. lang and Neko Case. The album received positive reviews and a Metacritic rating of 82.[12][13]

In April 2018, she released her tenth studio album The Lookout on her own label Raven Marching Band in North American and Bella Union in the rest of the world. It was a concept album about the fragility of precious things. It featured contributions from Sufjan Stevens, Jim James and was produced by Tucker Martine. Earlier, in January 2018, she had launched a podcast, Midnight Lightning, about the lives of musician parents. The first season featured weekly interviews with 14 mother musicians such as Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Carol Kaye, Rosanne Cash, Rhiannon Giddens, Meshell Ndegeocello, Amanda Bergman among others. In early 2018, Chronicle Books published her first picture book, Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten.[14] A story about folk musician Elizabeth Cotten (aka "Libba") it was illustrated by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. Libba was a Junior Library Guild selection and received the Parents' Choice Award.

On Valentine's Day 2020, Veirs released the song "I Was a Fool", exploring her divorce.[15] In July, her eleventh studio album My Echo was made available for pre-order with a scheduled release in October.[16] Veirs continued to write and record, finishing most of an album's worth of material by the time, My Echo, was released.[17]

Touring band members[edit]

  • Laura Veirs – vocals, guitar, banjo
  • Eli Moore – bass, guitar, synth
  • Eyvind Kang – viola
  • Karl Blau – guitar, bass, saxophone, keyboards, vocals
  • Steve Moore – piano, keyboards, bells, euphonium, vocals

Production[edit]

Tucker Martine was a producer on many of the albums including Carbon Glacier, Year of Meteors, Saltbreakers, July Flame, Tumble Bee and Warp & Weft.[18][19]

Raven Marching Band records[edit]

Veirs runs a record label, Raven Marching Band Records, that has released her own and other artists' music. In 2016, the label released Introducing Karl Blau, which was crowdfunded.[20][21]

Style[edit]

In 2007, Veirs said about her lyrics, "I like to be personal in my writing, but not overly confessional."[22]

Many of her lyrics are inspired by literary works. The song "Saltbreakers" on her 2007 album Saltbreakers was partially inspired by A. S. Byatt's Possession. Another song on the same album, "Don't lose yourself", was partially inspired by José Saramago's novel, Blindness. T. S. Eliot was an inspiration for the song "Margaret Sands" on The Lookout.

Personal life[edit]

Veirs lives in Portland, Oregon. Around 2000, Veirs married Tucker Martine, who has collaborated with her musically. The couple has two children born 2010 and 2013. In November 2019, Veirs announced she and Martine were divorcing.[23][24][18]

Discography[edit]

Veirs onstage playing guitar
Veirs performing at the Deaf Institute in Manchester, England, 2022

Studio albums[edit]

Works and publications[edit]

  • Veirs, Laura; Fazlalizadeh, Tatyana (illustrated by) (2018). Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-1-452-14858-8. OCLC 1001572148.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Songwriter/Composer: Veirs, Laura Pauline, Current Affiliation: BMI CAE/IPI #: 418960634". BMI.
  2. ^ MAGNET Staff (October 25, 2018). "Happy 45th Birthday Laura Veirs". MAGNET.
  3. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (August 22, 2005). "Critic's Choice: New CD's; Year of Meteors; Laura Veirs". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b Epstein, Warren (March 4, 2010). "Homegrown: Laura Veirs flirts with acoustic stardom". Colorado Springs Gazette.
  5. ^ "Carleton College Geology Department Comprehensive Exercise Projects". Carleton College. 1997.
  6. ^ Geology Alumni News (October 5, 2006). "Geology Alumni News: Laura Veirs '97, Singer and Songwriter". Carleton College.
  7. ^ a b "Biography". lauraveirs.com. Archived from the original on March 24, 2012. Retrieved February 11, 2012.
  8. ^ Wheat, Mark (March 3, 2010). "Laura Veirs performs in The Current studios". Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  9. ^ Boilen, Bob (December 21, 2009). "Exclusive First Listen: Laura Veirs". NPR.
  10. ^ Woodward, Afton Lorraine (January 13, 2010). "Warmth in Winter: Laura Veirs, 'July Flame'". Washington Post.
  11. ^ "First Listen: Laura Veirs, 'Tumble Bee'". October 30, 2011.
  12. ^ "case lang veirs". Metacritic.
  13. ^ Betts, Stephen (May 9, 2016). "Hear Neko Case, kd lang and Laura Viers' Enchanting 'Delirium'". Rolling Stone.
  14. ^ Veirs, Laura; Fazlalizadeh, Tatyana (illustrated by) (2018). Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-1-452-14858-8. OCLC 1001572148.
  15. ^ "Laura Veirs Releases Heartbreaking Anti-Valentine's Tune, "I Was a Fool"". Pastemagazine.com. February 13, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  16. ^ "My Echo, by Laura Veirs". Laura Veirs. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  17. ^ Snapes, Laura (September 17, 2020). "Laura Veirs on Surviving Her Divorce: 'My Life Is Strangely Awesome'". The Guardian. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Laura Veirs reveals she's divorcing long-term collaborator Tucker Martine". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  19. ^ Salmon, Ben (October 22, 2010). "Laura Veirs, Weinland play Bend". The Bend Bulletin.
  20. ^ "New Album from Karl Blau: The Soul of Country". Kickstarter. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  21. ^ "The Lookout, by Laura Veirs". Laura Veirs. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  22. ^ "Laura Veirs interview". Lostateminor.com. May 26, 2007. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  23. ^ Koi, Emma (February 9, 2018). "Laura Veirs". Mother Maker.
  24. ^ White, Ryan (January 14, 2010). "Portland's Laura Veirs has a new album, her own label, and a baby on the way". The Oregonian.

External links[edit]