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Strumming to summer

Folk singer Laura Veirs carries her “July Flame” Tour to the Cedar.
The songbird brings her sunny tunes to the Cedar this Saturday.
Image by Photo courtesy Laura Veirs
The songbird brings her sunny tunes to the Cedar this Saturday.

There’s a certain brand of acoustic folk that has the power of mental transportation. It can provoke nostalgic recollection, introspective wandering and — in the case of Portland songstress Laura Veirs — it can even bring some sunshine to our frigid autumn.

On tour for her seventh album “July Flame” and toting around a new son, Tennessee, the open road is something Veirs has seen before.

“After 12 years of touring, I wouldn’t say it’s as thrilling. It’s a whole new logistical feat,” Veirs said. “I have to say it’s pretty fun, though; [Tennessee] is a great traveler.”  

Thus far, the tour has yielded nothing but positive responses from nationwide audiences, something that pulls in a fresh sense of excitement for the musical mama.

“It’s been really nice to see an increase in exposure and fans coming to the shows for this album,” Veirs said. “It’s been a steady, slow climb, but it just feels like people really like this record, and that’s a great feeling.”

With a relatively lengthy accumulation of releases, “July Flame” serves as a poignant and deliberate step backward. It’s a free-flowing walk through the park that’s not overburdened with heavy symbolism or intellectual meaning. For Veirs, musical inspiration is less about searching for the profound and more about examining all that she stumbles across.

“Music is much more exploratory and creative for me,” Veirs said. “It’s about noodling around and trying to get into that child-like mind frame.”

To achieve this on the album, Veirs channeled the very foundations of her musical education in the roots of folk.

“I just really wanted to simplify everything from a musical standpoint,” Veirs said. “I really think we succeeded, but I had to write a lot of songs to get to that point, many more than usual.”

The resulting sound pits the ethereal beauty of Veirs’ vocals against a backdrop of mild guitar, at times incorporating a more multifaceted effect of strings, banjo and piano. The music is light and easy, running from the vein of a genre that can be effortlessly appreciated even amidst the most sedate of daily moments.

The album also features guest harmonies from My Morning Jacket’s otherworldly lead singer, Jim James. While these two artists wouldn’t usually be packed in the same musical bracket, James’ contributions are tame and refined, adding subtle dissonance to the delicate quality of Veirs’ singing.

A multi-tasker to the end, Veirs has also, with a handful of others, established her own record label, Raven Marching Band Records. On the most basic level, she wanted to be in control of her own affairs but hopes to one day release other musicians’ records.

Until then, she will continue to carry out that which she’s proven to be unusually skilled at — keeping busy.

“I’m already pondering the next big thing,” she said.

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