Portland based artist Laura Veirs will be playing at Café du Nord next Wednesday. The tour celebrates her new album “July Flame” which was ironically released in January. Before Veirs became a deeply admired songwriter, she was a geologist. Perhaps stemming from that career, the new album is filled with songs that feel deeply grounded in the natural world, for example the inspiration for the title was a peach purchased at a farmers’ market. Other songs cover topics as far ranging as sunshine, buffalos, wandering heartbroken through the woods and of course the titular fruit. “Honey wax melt it down/ make your heart molten somehow / turn the fields of stone to magma” she sings on “Summer is Champion,” a dark love song that uses funk horns and honky tonk piano to accentuate the handclapping rhythm.
Her songs are sparse and glimmering folk melodies that rely on Veirs’ lush pretty girl vocals. Of course banjos and slide guitar also make appearances. The banjo in “Where are You Driving” recalls Joanna Newsom’s harp. She also pays tribute to older inspirations with American blues song “Spike Driver Blues,” by Mississippi John Hurt which appears on this album, and Elizabeth Cotten’s “Freight Train.” The opening track on the album, “I Can See Your Tracks” begins with a plucked guitar reminiscent of raindrops falling on a wooden roof. Synth and drums, such as in the sway-inspiring song “July Flame,” which sound like it could be, and it probably will be, played at a Mission bar.
Opening for Laura Veirs at Café Du Nord will be The Old Believers who churn layered pop melodies into Arcade Fire type crescendos. Also playing is Seattle artist, Cataldo with emotionally honest tunes that fall into the official musical category “cutest songs ever.”
Café Du Nord tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Also, download two free tracks from Laura Veirs’ new album July Flame at Lauraveirs.com.