This is part one of Jeff Rosenberg's interview with transplanted Portland singer/songwriter Laura Veirs. Jeff and Veirs spoke at a coffee shop on NE Alberta near her new Portland home. You can read Jeff's profile of Laura here, and find part two of this interview here.]
So, how long have you been in Portland?
When did you and Tucker become an item?
Some of the lyrics on your new album seem to contain more overt demonstrations and discussions of emotion on this album than in past work where you've dealt with those things more obliquely.
Was it a case of "I've got some stuff to process here, I'm gonna sit down and write a record," or did the songs emerge more by themselves?
It's not your Blood on the Tracks or anything.
Well, nobody really does, but it's one of the great breakup albums. And this is better than the Fleetwood Mac Rumours situation, because at least the band is hooking up, not breaking up, while making the album.
Yeah, and a great episode of Behind the Music.
Has it changed the band dynamics, now that half of it is going out with each other?
It's one of the coolest band shots I've ever seen.
Next album, time for some new eyeglasses though.
But those [that she's wearing on the back cover of Saltbreakers] are the same from the previous album cover [Year of Meteors], aren' t they?
So major-label artists can afford better eyewear?
"Black Butterfly" seems like one of the songs that we were talking about, that's very sparse and direct emotionally.
So now that you're "Laura Veirs and Saltbreakers," since saltbreakers is a synonym for waves, I guess you're the Northwest's own Katrina and the Waves.
They did "Walking on Sunshine."
But I guess it would be more appropriate if your hit was "Walking Under Partly Cloudy."
How did the opportunity to record those choral vocals [on "To the Country"] at the Cash Cabin in Tennessee come up?
Is it the same place where they shot the video [for "Hurt"]?
How long did you work there?
What was your reaction when you heard about the fire there [on Cash's property]?
What month were you there?
Did you have a good connection with John Carter Cash? Any chance you might work there again?
Is it part of the land that Barry Gibb owns now?
Photo courtesy of the artist's Myspace page