From one of the country’s most inimitable songwriters – Portland, Oregon’s Laura Veirs – comes her ninth full-length album. Beautiful, lush and at times deeply dark, “Warp and Weft” captures the intensity of motherhood, love and violence. Primarily electric-guitar driven, it is a fever dream of an album and could well be Veirs’ best work to date. It builds on the uniform praise and commercial success of 2010’s “July Flame,” which Utne Reader dubbed “idiosyncratic and captivating” and received glowing reviews from The New York Times, Pitchfork, NPR and others.
The recording of “Warp and Weft” (a weaving term) was a community effort. Produced in Portland in March 2013 by Veirs’ longtime collaborator Tucker Martine, the album features Jim James, kd lang, Neko Case, Brian Blade and members of The Decemberists and many more.
Veirs sings not only of mid-winter suns, white blossoming cherry trees and melting ice, but also suicide, gun violence and war. She weaves threads of old folk songs including “Motherless Children” as well as stories of folk-art hero Howard Finster and jazz harpist Alice Coltrane. “I think of this record as a tapestry where disparate elements come together and are stronger and more lovely as a result,” says Veirs.
Veirs was eight months pregnant with her second child during the recording; she says her experience as a mother brought about some of the more beautiful and painful songs. “I’m haunted by the idea that something terrible could happen to my kids but that fear pushes me to embrace the moment. This record is an exploration of extremes – deep, dark suffering and intense, compassionate love.”
“Laura makes such complicated melodies sound easy,” says Neko Case. “The first listen is so comforting and warm, then after two or three listens, the time when you wanna start singing along, you are struck by the thoughtful work that went into making the sounds; the twists and turns she makes like a light gazelle. It’s masterful; as a listener, it makes me feel loved. As a musician it makes me feel challenged and engaged. It’s a complete protein!”
“Warp and Weft” will be released on Veirs’ own Raven Marching Band Records (North America) and Bella Union (rest of the world) on August 20, 2013. Veirs will tour with a full band in the fall in the US and Europe.