Philadelphia. Â A rough transition from the other side of the pond — hours of layovers and band mates stuck in Munich and everyone getting colds but great shows in the States so far — a wonderful feeling! — long drives and lots of interviews and not much time to rest — visits with dear old friends — a snowy walk in Central Park — RIP John Lennon.
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The folk singer/songwriter’s seventh studio album, “July Flame,” recently debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers and Folk charts.Â It has also been garnering unprecedented media attention, earning overwhelmingly positive reviews from NPR and the New York Times, among others.
But Veirs isn’t fazed by the attention. Instead, the Portland, Ore., native watches how the media hype translates into fan appreciation — and enjoys it…
Read the whole article here.
Hello, an explanation of the pics below…
1. Back on the home front, Tucker got our cat Carlos a “cat cam”. Here is Carlos looking humiliated with my dad, Val. Carlos took a bunch of pictures around the neighborhood. Grass and branches and car mufflers and neighbor’s back yards. Â As Tucker says, “We have a real artist on our hands!”
2. Here is Tim in front of the gig we played in Hamburg. We played in that bunker! Actually the place was really nice, believe it or not. A delicious home-cooked meal and a great crowd and a warm green room.
3. The stairwell in the bunker. Apparently this building is indestructible.
4. Windmills upon windmills across Germany. Go Germany!
5. Tim has had it with Nelson.
6. Tim and Alex on the ferry from Germany to Denmark.
7. The icy waters.
8. Backstage in Lund, Sweden: a cute picture of our friend Bill Frisell and band circa 1991.
9. Norwegian (Hoarfrost) Wood(s).
10. Tim, eating those insane salty Scandinavian fish candies.
11. Fun times on the six hour drive to Oslo.
12. “The pals.”
Berlin. Â Good German shows so far, and a great show in Berlin tonight. Â Yesterday: a night off with friends out on the town — a gallery opening, seeing the German translation of my friend Jason’s graphic novel “Berlin” in a bookshop, a fine German dinner (the salads here are the best yet on the tour) and this morning, an icy morning walk along the longest remaining part of Berlin Wall. In 1990, 118 artists painted the murals you see below…
Koln. Â The low point of the tour was backstage in Brussels: I was completely exhausted and there was no soft surface to rest on backstage. Â I tried to nap on a table (that was a first), and ended up on towels on the floor. Â As a result, when I got onstage “my computer broke”. Â My hands couldn’t play the parts, my voice wasn’t up to snuff, and each song felt like a Herculean effort. Â Now I know we have to bring in the sleeping bag and pad each time so I can get that pre-show nap in. Â A sign of the preggo times…
We went to the instrument museum in Brussels and I went bonkers with my camera. Â Each instrument was a piece of beautiful art.
Much like the language, the arrangement is a model of sublime economy, built around Veirs’ slender guitar part and gentle rhythmic accents. (With her sweet, breathy delivery, the Oregon-based Veirs sounds at times like an older, romantically thwarted Taylor Swift.) But as the song continues, the production gradually builds, as if matching her own escalating ache. By the end, she’s been joined by a sighing string section and choir, adding up to an emotional outburst, if not total catharsis. It’s as if she â€” and the song â€” have kept their emotions in check until they simply can’t anymore.
Just a few words from the London Times to share with the interested:
While she was tuning her guitar Laura Veirs invited questions from the audience. The big one seemed to be â€œwhen is the baby due?â€. â€œMid-April,â€ replied the heavily pregnant singer. Boy or girl? â€œDonâ€™t know.â€ How old are you? That one took a bit of prompting.
Veirs is 36 and comes from Portland, Oregon. She has just released her seventh album, July Flame, a twinkling patchwork of acoustic pop and folk that has received ecstatic reviews….
She sang about the great outdoors, the sea, the seasons and the seasons of love, with a great tenderness that was nevertheless tough at the core. To the Country involved a complicated backing vocal arrangement and an unusual electric guitar solo from Veirs, which sounded as if she was playing a sitar. â€œI wanted to make something good,â€ she sang at the end of the show. And she did.
Read the whole thing here
Brussels. I’ve struck up an email friendship with Carol Kaye. Â She is 74 and seems like just about the coolest person on earth.Â
We enjoyed a packed afternoon show in Amsterdam yesterday and an evening walk along the canals. Â This morning Nelson saw a seagull drop a sausage on a poor biker’s head (and no one wears helmets in Amsterdam). Â Now we’re in Brussels and just took a tour of the jaw-dropping Grand Square. Â We’re off to the instrument museum in the morning and then Koln…Â
Lille. Lots of fun in Paris! I am always so excited to play there and spend some time in that beautiful city. Thanks to all the enthusiastic people who came out to our show at Cafe de la Danse.Â
In Lille Alex and I decided it was time to do our laundry. We traipsed through a bizarre complex of shopping malls to search out laundry detergent, and after 45 minutes we returned to the venue to learn that we’d bought fabric softener instead. Â The washer and dryer were in the kitchen and the very sweet chef helped us find a tiny bit of proper detergent and we supplemented the load with shampoo and Dr. Bronner’s. Â The chef asked us how dirty our laundry was. Â We said “pretty dirty.” Â So we washed the load at 60 degrees Celcius without thinking about it. Â That’s 140 degrees Farenheit!Â So now all of my increasingly small maternity clothes are now EVEN TIGHTER because we washed and dried them on such high heat. Â I feel like a fish packed into a tin, but I’m hoping things will loosen up again soon.Â
The chef said he’d put the laundry in the dryer for us during our show. Â When we returned to get it after the show we discovered he’d carefully and lovingly folded ALL of it, including our shrunken underwear! By that time he’d gone home so there was no way to thank him. On top of that he cooked us the best meal yet on the tour, and served it with a kind smile.
In other news, a fan at the merch table after the Lille show insisted on telling me that “Carbon Glacier” is my best album and that I was lying (for “promotion”) when I said that “July Flame” is my favorite. What is it about the French and “Carbon Glacier”? I have yet to meet someone in this country who likes one of my other albums more than that one. I guess it struck a cultural vein of some kind…
Below are some pics of our amazingly energetic and upbeat Scottish tour manager/sound person Tim. He dresses in 50s fashion, never stops working on endless tour-related tasks, and always reminds us that we’re “Living the Dream”!Â
London.Â A chilly walk along the Brighton beach and a packed show â€“ Brighton has now inched into First Place in the International â€œOoher-Ahherâ€ Competition.
The London show in Union Chapel was lovely.Â I felt humbled by the space and honored to play there.Â The sparse songs came off particularly well, with our group harmonies sailing off into the reverberant chapel above us. It was great to reconnect with Bella Union folks and my booking agents and some dear old friends back stage. Off now to Manchester for a radio show and then â€¦ the City of Love!