Saturday 20 January 2024

LAURA VEIRS - The KCRW Sessions (Flac) *Special Post* #1

Some years ago I uploaded a series of special posts to add a little more variety to the blog. They included some well known names but also artists not previously featured. These were discarded and then reposted to the blog about five years ago. Some have quite short running times and were lost in the depths of the blog. I've decided to bump them up in position near to the top of the blog (date wise) as they have more in common with some of the recent posts and should be of interest to newer blog readers. If you've been following the blog for a while you will probably already have these.

I pulled out Laura's 'July Flame' album tonight for listening. It's an attractive digipak with a free poster variation of the front cover and lyrics included on the back. That led to me listening to these KCRW sessions and the thought it would be worthwhile promoting these again. 


This was another disc I pulled from the DM's box under the stairs. It featured a Laura Veirs session from 2010. Her latest KCRW session was broadcast recently to promote the new album The Lookout. Both sessions are included together in one post, if you still burn to CDr both will fit onto a single disc.

"Laura Veirs grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she often spent summers camping with her family, which gave her much of her songwriting inspiration. Veirs has said that she didn’t seriously listen to music until she was in her 20s; instead, she just heard what was in her environment. She listened to folk, country, classical and pop music around the house and on the radio during her youth.

Attending Carleton College in rural Minnesota, Veirs latched onto feminist punk rock from the Pacific Northwest, eventually starting an all-female punk band called “Rair Kx!”. Laura studied geology and Mandarin Chinese. After college, she embraced older country and folk music. Her first foray into songwriting started with a geological expedition in China, where she served as translator. She was miserable and immersed herself into writing lyrics as a way of coping."

Laura Veirs - Live in Session on Morning Becomes Eclectic, 2010
KCRW Radio FM Broadcast, Santa Monica, California

Live In Studio Session at time of broadcast
Aired: Tuesday March 9, 2010

Lineage: FM > Onkyo HT-R520 > Analog Out > HHB-CDR 800 > Taiyo Yuden CDR. WAV  > TSSTcorpCDDVDW SH-S202N > EAC > CD WAVE Tracking > Flac.8)

01. Intro
02. Wide Eyed, Legless
03. Sun Is King
04. Carol Kaye
05. July Flame
06. Interview with Jason
07. I Can See Your Tracks
08. When You Give Your Heart
09. Life Is Good Blues
10. Spelunking
11. Make Something Good
12. Song My Friends Taught Me (incomplete)

Additional Lineage:
Original download > HD files flac > dbPoweramp WAV > editing WavLab6 > TLH (Flac 8)


The Band:
Laura Veirs - Vocal, Guitar & Loops,
Eric Anderson - Bass, Drums & Vocal,
Alex Guy - Viola & Vocal,
Nelson Kempf - Keys, Bass & Vocal

"On this album, Laura Veirs parts company with Nonesuch and opts for a self-release in the USA, via her Raven Marching Band Records imprint, with a Bella Union airing in the UK. After 2007's Saltbreakers it wouldn't have been unreasonable to have expected Veirs to have catapulted into far broader success, but on July Flame she maintains the hallmarks of her cult status, all underpinned by an honest approach to song-craft that's never overcooked or outwardly commercial.

The record (produced with Decemberists collaborator Tucker Martine) sounds brilliantly put together, and tellingly, remains intimate and humble even when Veirs starts to pile up the arrangements, as on the great, string-stacked title track, or the miniaturised orchestrations of 'Silo Song'. There's nothing quite so immediate as 'Don't Lose Yourself' was on the last album, and the sequence gets off to a slightly sleepy start with the likes of the Fleet Foxes-esque 'I Can See Your Tracks' (which features My Morning Jacket's Jim James rather than any of Fleet Foxes) and the un-self-consciously countrified 'Sun Is King', but it's these more pared down moments that make the record such a joy on repeated listens.

This is a seriously strong collection of songs - possibly Veirs' best to date - and gives off all the right signals to suggest it might just be loitering around those end-of-2010 charts."

Laura Veirs - Live in Session on Morning Becomes Eclectic, 2018
KCRW Radio FM Broadcast, Santa Monica, California

Broadcast: Wednesday 23 May, 2018

01. Margaret Sands
02. Everybody Needs You
03. The Meadow
04. interview
05. Seven Falls
06. Watch Fire
07. Heavy Petals
08. True Love Will Find You In The End
09. The Lookout


 Lineage: FM Receiver -> CDRW700 -> EAC -> Soundforge -> FLAC

A prolific songwriter for nearly twenty years, Laura Veirs proves the depth of her musical skill on her tenth solo album, The Lookout. Here is a batch of inimitable, churning, exquisite folk-pop songs; a concept album about the fragility of precious things. Produced by Grammy-nominated Tucker Martine, Veirs’ longtime collaborator, The Lookout is a soundtrack for turbulent times, full of allusions to protectors: the camper stoking a watch fire, a mother tending her children, a sailor in a crows nest and a lightning rod channelling energy.

“The Lookout is about the need to pay attention to the fleeting beauty of life and to not be complacent; it’s about the importance of looking out for each other,” says Veirs. “I’m addressing what’s happening around me with the chaos of post-election America, the racial divides in our country, and a personal reckoning with the realities of midlife: I have friends who’ve died; I struggle with how to balance life as an artist with parenting young children.”

Written and produced on the heels of Veirs’ acclaimed album with Neko Case and kd Lang (case/lang/veirs), The Lookout integrates the fluency of collaboration with Veirs’ notorious work ethic. The twelve songs on the album are the result of a years’ worth of daily writing in her attic studio in Portland, Oregon.

“Twenty years ago when I was just starting out with my punk band, it never occurred to me to write five versions of a song,” says Veirs. “I’ve learned to see how malleable lyrics and melodies can be. I have more tools as a musician so I write many versions of songs until I find the right fit.” Such range is demonstrated on the operatic vocals of “The Meadow” and the intricate finger picking on “Watch Fire.” “The Lookout,” the album’s title track, is an ecstatic anthem to trusted relationships.

The Lookout draws on the talents of a time-tested crew of musicians: Karl Blau, Steve Moore, Eli Moore, Eyvind Kang and Martine. Says Veirs, “These guys are a good hang, ego-free and wonderful players who just want to serve the songs.” Sufjan Stevens and Jim James provide guest vocals.

For Martine, who fell, almost two decades ago, for Veirs’ unique sound after listening to a tape cassette she’d sent him in the mail, this album reflects a bar that keeps getting raised. Both familiar and strange, The Lookout gets better with repeated listens, warming to the skin like a cherished saddlebag, critical for the journey ahead." (

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