Laura Veirs seventh album July Flame, which Colin Meloy of the Decemberists calls 'the best album of 2010', explores the emotion of mid-summer. Drenched in wood smoke, sunlight, pollinators, pastoral dales, fireworks and warm nights, her lyrics explore the dichotomy between one's desire for permanence and security and the realization that such things rarely exist. Nowhere on the album is this inherent tension more crystallized than on the title track. The album breaks from Veirs previous full-band efforts, although many of the same players make appearances on the album, including longtime collaborators Karl Blau and Steve Moore. String arrangements are featured more on this album than on others; the brilliant improviser Eyvind Kang plays viola on many songs, and legendary arranger Stephen Barber composed hauntingly beautiful string quartet arrangements for three songs. July Flame is the sixth album that Laura and producer Tucker Martine have made together. Recorded and mixed at their home, the songwriting, arrangements, production and performances create a fully realized piece of art that inspires reflection and calm in a world that spins unsteady.