Album: Laura Veirs – My Echo review

By Dave Bertram

Playing out a divorce in real-time, Laura Veirs wears a disintegrating marriage like a polaroid in her top pocket on new record, My Echo.

Catharsis abound, her eleventh LP weighs heavy with all the hurt, fear, frustration and hope that comes with a relationship falling apart. Framed almost subconsciously by her divorce from her husband of nineteen years, Tucker Martine – a Grammy-nominated producer best known for his work with The Decemberists and Bill Frisell – Veirs switches from moderately upbeat folk to the downright heart-breaking as she tackles the emotional rollercoaster. The pair were together during the recording process, separated when it came to mix.

Over a lone guitar, the opening lines of first track Freedom Feeling before the beat – ‘I don’t know where I am going – it’s been in my mind the whole time’ – are telling when you learn of the back story. The bossa nova beat of Another Space and Time places the hope that comes with change in the metaphor of alternative universes with no climate change or computer screens. The air and twang of Memaloose Island compares the elements of autumn to death being all around us – ‘I was glad to be alive’, she asserts over the chorus.

Her feelings are delivered more directly as the record progresses. ‘When I think of the end times, you come to mind’, she sings alone at the piano on beautiful End Times, with the sentiment repeated aboard the folk acoustic of All The Things. And suitably, it’s the closing track, Vapor Trails, that provides the final lament – the storm has past, the skies are clear, and all you have are memories and reflection.

Featuring My Morning Jacket frontman, Jim James, on guest vocal, she delivers the softest of curtain closers. ‘Hey you’re a vapour trail and you burn white hot, you’re here for a moment and then you’re gone’. This is the most honest moment on an honest record by an artist who makes her peace in the final bars.

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