Category Archives: Rock & Roll

Have Writers Block? Hit Your Local Farmer’s Market – Laura Veirs Did & Reached a Creative Milestone with “July Flame”

For me, the joy of the creative process is up there with other key life events…say, feeling my wife’s prego belly as our baby does kung fu moves in utero.

That’s why I was tickled when I read a recent tweet from indie-rocker Laura Veirs. She said, “Somebody’s kicking me in the ribs! WTF?”

No, she didn’t get into a bar fight in England where she is currently on tour. She has an onboard band member (translation: she’s pregnant).

Indie Singer/Songwriter Laura Veirs

On the creative process, Veirs says in her online bio that writing “July Flame,” a song from her album by the same name (released Jan. 12, 2010, Raven Marching Band Records), helped her reach an important musical milestone.

July Flame (permission received for free download)

“I’d been in a songwriting slump at that time and writing that song pushed me over my plateau and into a new place where I was surprising myself again,” she says.

The track’s title was borrowed from a variety of peaches called July Flame, which Veirs purchased for canning during a July 2008 visit to a Portland, Oregon farmer’s market.

Starting with a lonely, grieving guitar, the song takes us on a journey through firework flames and unfulfilled desire. The track never brings us to the shores of resolution, but gives us hope on the journey – as testified by a choir bolstered with uplifting strings at the song’s climax.

Full Lyrics to July Flame

“July Flame
Fiery kite
Lead me through the night

“July Flame
Sweet summer peach
High up in the branch
Just out of my reach

“Can I call you mine?
Can I call you mine?

“July Flame
I’m seeing fireworks
They’re so beautiful
Tell me why it hurts

“July Flame
Ashes of a secret heart
Falling in my lemonade
Unslakeable thirsting in the back yard

“Can I call you mine?
Can I call you mine?”

For Veirs, the creative process didn’t stop with the song. Check out the beautiful “July Flame” video. (This may be the first time you’ve seen peach fireworks and wildlife roasting marshmallows!)

If you’re interested in learning more about the making of Veirs’ “July Flame” album, this video is for you.

The Hidden Meanings of Secret Heart

“July Flame” has several meanings in the song – a peach, will-o’-the- wisp and unrequited love (my guess). So, I have taken “secret heart” from the second verse and given it totally unintended new meanings.

  1. The Secret Heart (1946 film) – The New York Times describes “The Secret Heart” as “a psychological drama starring June Allyson as a disturbed teenager obsessed with the memory of her dead father and unable to embrace her stepmother.” Here’s the trailer.
  2. Paul McCartney’s Secret Heart Operation – In the fall of 2007, Paul McCartney secretively had a coronary angioplasty. Apparently it did the trick. He’s alive and kicking and recently wrote the song, “(I Want To) Come Home,” for the new Robert De Niro film, “Everybody’s Fine.”

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No Lyme Disease or Blood Sucking Here: Deer Tick Just Wants You to Get Lucky with the New Song, “Dance of Love”

Deer ticks are nasty little arachnids whose mission is to suck the blood out of living creatures, all the while transmitting the horrible Lyme disease.

Well, in the summer of 2005, singer/songwriter John McCauley found one of the little buggers on his scalp on a camping trip and inspiration hit. His band would be “Deer Tick.”

(L to R, Deer Tick is John McCauley, Dennis Ryan, Chris Ryan and Andrew Tobiassen)

But don’t worry, this group is all about rocking your party – no blood sucking involved. (As far as I know, they can’t spread Lyme disease either.)

On the new song, “Dance of Love,” released Jan. 1, 2010, as part of the EP, “More Fuel for the Fire,” on Partisan Records, Deer Tick shares a road map for guys to get lucky…the old fashioned way.

Listen to Dance of Love Here

Here’s an excerpt from the lyrics:

“Well if I pull that chair out
Or maybe if I hold that door for you
If I do it cause my mother always told me to do
If I make a point to complement you
I’ll be feeling those legs already on mine

“Oh the dance of love
Well the dance of love
Is a wonderful dance”

Musically, “Dance of Love” is no lambada (the Brazilian dance of love). The song is wrapped in a Johnny Cash “Folsom Prison Blues” guitar groove, bolstered by some attitude from The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and uplifted by the spirit of the great Cajun bar bands such as the Pine Leaf Boys.

I love drummer Dennis Ryan’s driving beat on this tune. It’s busy, but in all the right places. On this track, Andrew Tobiassen’s lead vocals are a lot of fun. He’s no trained opera singer. This dude is just blurting out how guys feel about courting women, with all the raspy, hootin’ and hollerin’ that goes along with that.

So check out “Dance of Love” by Deer Tick. These guys will have you laughing, dancing and who knows what.

Deer Tick Extra: Here’s probably something you never imagined. Deer ticks singing soulful acapella.

Deer Tick is on Twitter (@deertickmusic) and the group’s Web sites include , and

American Lyme Disease Foundation
Deer Tick Biography on the Band’s Site

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