As opposed to our favorite songs, or songs we'd like to think define our listening habits, taking a look at what a person actually listens to can be far more revealing. With that in mind, every now and then we'll ask an artist to take a look at the most-played songs in their iTunes libraries and share with us the results. We do this on the honor system, and we ask our subjects to share a few words about each song.
Alicia J. Rose
Portland based singer-songwriter Laura Veirs was already steeped in a collection of highly regarded albums--including 2010's critically acclaimed July Flame--when she released Tumble Bee: Laura Veirs Sings Folk Songs for Children earlier this year. She and her husband, collaborator, and indie rock producer Tucker Martine recently celebrated the birth of their son Tennessee, and Veirs' change in pace from indie-folk music for adults to acoustic melodies for kids seems a natural one. But when we queried the artist about the top three most played songs in her iTunes library, her selections were delightfully and refreshingly mature in theme--no Raffi, Dan Zanes, or even Caspar Babypants in rotation at the Veirs residence. No, the following three songs are a soundtrack perfectly in tune with a woman ever-in-motion, who famously traded maternity leave for a European tour, infant son in tow, and offers fans a glimpse of motherhood that finds inspiration in favorite, familiar voices.
Laura Veirs and the Tumble Bees play an early show at The Vera Project this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
1. "Famous Blue Raincoat," Leonard Cohen: I love this song. I've been listening to it a lot lately since I've been learning how to play it. It's mysterious: the lyrics, the dynamics, the rather strange back-up vocals, and the simple, lovely melody. Everyone talks about Leonard's lyrics but also he is a really kick ass finger style nylon string guitar player.
2. "Bedouin Dress," Fleet Foxes: I've been learning this song, too. Robin's vocal melodies are so great and the band has such inventive arrangements. The lyrics on their new album are cool: they seem within one song to go from a wide view to something very up-close and personal and then back out again. I love how Robin talks about this lovely, unforgettable, gleaming white dress. He's great with details. What a rad band that we north westerners can call our own.
3."Stagolee," Mississippi John Hurt: Again, I'm a student. I've been a student of John Hurt's for 13 years and always will be. I love his music and whenever I dig into the details of his guitar playing, I come away with something I can borrow (steal?) for a future song.