PM interview with Laura Veirs

I was scrambling, I admit, for the right woman for the June issue. I had a lot of feelers out, but too late and nothing was coming back fast enough. So I was excited when I saw that Laura Veirs had a new release, and overjoyed when I realized that there was a show in Nashville only days away; an amazing coincidence, the overall timing considered. We are very enamored of the artist's music, right from the first recording on out, without exception.

I showed up very early, anticipating a crowd and in need of the best seat, since I wanted to shoot some guerrilla video. (In this case, my little Panasonic GS250, a small 3-chip camcorder.) I was very fortunate to arrive halfway through soundcheck, so that they got used to me being invisibly there. Laura and I talked a little bit, she was very gracious and warm; I'd interviewed her a year or two ago, but we'd never met. And her producer/drummer Tucker Martine and I had exchanged a couple of emails years ago, after he masterminded the cult classic Mount Analog; I'd had the notion at the time of doing a series of interviews with producers nationally (including suspects like himself in the Northwest, Brad Jones in Nashville, Gurf Morlix in Austin, Jimi Zhivago in NYC, Joe Henry in L.A., the Hi-N-Dry crew in Boston, etc.) but that time has still not come around, just not enough hours in the day.

The show was immensely satisfying. The new songs were top shelf, and the chemistry of the players so audiovisible, palpable. I really got to appreciate the musicality of Tucker, of Karl Blau on bass and guitar, and Steve Morrow on Wurlitzer, all terrific players listening very hard.

Laura herself is a fine guitarist, and her parts are very instrumental in the arrangements. Passages played on nylon string on the record were played live on a Les Paul with equal authority and facility, she's just a strong player.

Here are video clips I shot of two songs, the new CD's title track, "Saltbreakers," and "Pink Light." Buy Saltbreakers, it's great. (We did, even though we were doing an interview.) Don't download it for free, don't get your friend to burn it for you for free. If the artists of the world are going to survive and keep writing and recording and touring, they have to make money to survive.

And now, a conversation with one of the most interesting and original pop songwriters out there: Laura Veirs.

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