Reviewed by Gregory Keer
We end this wild and crazy calendar year with a recording that wraps the listener in an organic fibered blanket of folk music goodness. Tumble Bee is the progeny of Laura Veirs’s decision to slow down a bit after eight grown-up albums and the birth of her first child (with husband and producer Tucker Martine). Veirs and Martine culled through countless songs before settling on 13 gentle gems that were recorded in the comfort of the couple’s home.
For this disparate collection of folk songs, Veirs sings with the help of a sparkling array of folk and rock musicians, including Bela Fleck, Colin Meloy (The Decembrists), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), and Brian Blade (who drums for Bob Dylan). Among the many tracks worth noting are “Little Lap-Dog Lullaby” for his gorgeous harmonies, “Tumblebee” for its Arcade Fire meets kid-music sensibility, “All the Pretty Horses” for its quiet gorgeousness, “Jump Down Spin Around” for its lively arrangement, and “Jamaica Farewell” for the mere fact that it’s one of my all-time favorite tunes and Veirs does it wonderfully.
In a season requiring crackling fires and hot chocolate, this album does the job of both with its warmth and richness.
www.lauraveirs.com – $13 (CD) – Ages birth to 100