First Look: Laura Veirs – “July Flame”

Laura Veirs-July FlameAs Laura Veirs’ July Flame, the follow-up to 2007’s Nonesuch-released Saltbreakers, sat in label limbo last summer, the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy Tweeted that it was his favorite record of the year and added, “Please pester @nonesuchrecords and tell ’em to PUT IT OUT!” Why they didn’t is beyond me. July Flame is a terrific record, heartfelt and magnetic folk that recalls Michigan-era Sufjan Stevens and humble enough to include an ode to legendary session bassist Carole Kaye. It’s clever without being quirky, as best shown on “Life is Good Blues,” a mournful melody matched to cup-half-full lyrics. My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Karl Blau and others contribute here and there, but the focus is always on Veirs, who steps into the spotlight without either affectations or shyness. It’s an album to believe in — even if one former label did not.

Laura Veirs – “July Flame”: mp3

(July Flame is out now on Veirs’ own Raven Marching Band Records)

More: New Music | 2010 Album Release Calendar