The title of Laura Veirs’ new album, Found Light, casts its rays in two directions.
Read as a verb phrase, the title reveals the act of discovery after searching through darkness. Actively looking for a way beyond gloom and joylessness, the singer has found glimmers of light that guide her to self-discovery. Read as a noun phrase, the title evinces joy in unexpected moments, during which the singer stumbles upon shining arcs of light. The gift of that “found light” radiates hope amid the murkiness of anxiety.
The disc opens with “Autumn Song,” a spare round on which Veirs’ call-and-response vocals, echoed by Kate Stables, flow over ringing, finger-picked guitar. Though autumn is often a season of melancholic longing, Veirs embraces it as a time for turning over a new leaf or celebrating new discoveries “Of ways to be free / Of ways to let go / Of ways to be loved.”
Harp-like guitar-picking and tinkling piano notes float into a swirling pool of sound on “Ring Song,” an ode to regret that lingers on embracing freedom. The second line in the chorus captures the double edge of promise: “I pawned my wedding ring at the Silver Lining / I felt sad / I also felt a weight go flying.”
Drenched with sensual rhythm, “Naked Hymn” recalls the free jazz of Nat Adderley, Jr.’s songs on his album Soul Zodiac. It focuses on the lasting feel of a lover’s touch. Charlotte Greve’s snaking saxophone is seductive under the chorus, which borrows a line from a poem by John Keats.
“I Can’t Help but Sing” is a paean to beauty despite sometimes having a heavy heart. “Eucalyptus” gallops along a steady heart-like beat as the singer runs from a bad relationship toward new freedom. “T & O” is a reverberating chamber tune titled after the first letter of her children’s names, Tennessee and Oz. She reminds them that they are “the sunbeams of the house.” The album closes with the propulsive “Winter Windows,” an exhilarating affirmation that Veirs will light her own way in life and love.
Found Light showcases the breadth of Laura Veirs’ brilliance as a singer and songwriter. She inhabits her songs, delivering her phrasing with an emotional register that flows out of the words themselves. In doing so, she creates a space in which she and her listeners can dwell as the song unfolds.
Found Light is available HERE.