Laura Veirs, 'July Flame' (Raven Marching Band)

July Flame
Critical Mass
Label: Raven Marching Band

by Jon Young

Laura Veirs' mild-mannered voice and low-key tunes have long made her easy to overlook, but the Oregon folkie's seventh album contains mellow pleasures for patient listeners. Deploying natural-world imagery (dandelions, hailstorms, etc.) in tales of desire and loss, she decorates thoughtful interludes such as "Where Are You Driving?" and "Wide-Eyed, Legless" with clarinet and viola, occasionally supported by Jim James' tangy harmonies. And on "Summer Is the Champion," when she coos, "Let's get dizzy in the grass," Veirs reveals the burning heart behind her polite façade.



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