“This remains at its essence an album of beguiling, rain-splashed intimacy.” – Mojo
With organic imagery and a sense of open-eyed, open-hearted wonder, Veirs’ songs on Saltbreakers (2007) seem to hover between the sea and the stars taking inspiration from each. Though “To the Country” is the undisputed highlight here, featuring a luminous call-and-response with the Cedar Hill Choir and guest guitar from Bill Frisell, Veirs extends her range from the soul groove of the title track to the propulsive rock of “Phantom Mountain.” Produced by Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Built To Spill), Saltbreakers is by turns haunting, playful, tender, and fierce, embracing everything from machine-driven beats to angelic gospel choirs to fuzzed-out guitars.
The continuing collaboration with producer Tucker Martine allows for experimentation and inventiveness, which, according to Pitchfork, showcases Veirs’ “indulgence in flights of verbal fancy.” An example of this is the track “To The Country,” which was recorded in the Nashville cabin of Johnny Cash and June Carter and which features an eight-person Baptist choir. Veirs describes the experience as “transcendent.”
On Saltbreakers, Veirs is accompanied by her longtime studio and touring band, originally called the Tortured Souls, who now bear the same name as the album. Over the last three years, the band has traveled the world touring in support of Veirs’ previous Nonesuch albums Carbon Glacier and Year of Meteors. “The band has gotten really close,” says Veirs. “We’ve become a family.” The group includes Veirs on vocals and guitar, Karl Blau on bass, Steve Moore on piano, and Tucker Martine on drums.