After college, she embraced older country and folk music. Her first foray into songwriting started with a geological expedition in China, where she served as translator. She was miserable and immersed herself into writing lyrics as a way of coping. She put out her own self-titled album Laura Veirs, recorded live and featuring just her and guitar, in 1999. She has since made five highly acclaimed records with producer Tucker Martine.
2003 saw the release of Troubled by the Fire, a full-band effort that found the artist sharing the studio with such luminaries as Bill Frisell and violist Eyvind Kang. She signed to Nonesuch Records the following year with the atmospheric follow-up Carbon Glacier. Year of Meteors followed in August of 2005. She collaborated with The Decemberists on "Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)", from their 2006 album The Crane Wife.
Her sixth record, Saltbreakers, was released worldwide on Nonesuch Records in April 2007. Her seventh album July Flame was released in January 2010. In November 2011, Veirs released the album Tumble Bee: Laura Veirs Sings Folk Songs For Children. The album presents mostly traditional songs, and features an array of guest musicians, including Colin Meloy, Jim James, and Bela Fleck. The album won a Parents' Choice Award in 2012. In September 2012 her first feature film soundtrack was released: Hello I Must Be Going. Veirs tours frequently in Europe, the US and Australia both solo and with her backing band Saltbreakers, consisting of Karl Blau on bass, guitar, and backing vocals, keyboardist Steve Moore, and Tucker Martine on drums.
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