The Be Good Tanyas
The Be Good Tanyas play an old-timey blend of folk, country, and blues bolstered by sweet harmonies and traditional fingerpicking. The Vancouver trio has garnered comparisons to like-minded predecessors such as Gillian Welch and Iris DeMent. The group came together when Samantha Parton, who had spent her post-high-school years traveling with her guitar (drawing strong musical influence from visits to the Southern U.S.), returned to Vancouver. She and Jolie Holland initially formed the group, then added Frazey Ford and Trish Klein, whom Parton had met while planting trees in Nelson, British Columbia. (Ford and Winnipeg native Klein had met at Selkirk Music School in Nelson.) The musicians played together for the first time in 1999, busking outside the Lilith Fair venue in Vancouver. They soon moved on to local thrift store and coffee shop gigs. Holland left the group, and the remaining trio was soon touring Canada and released its debut album, Blue Horse, in 2001. Two years later, the ladies returned with the lighthearted sophomore effort Chinatown, while Hello Love, which included covers of Neil Young, Mississippi John Hurt, and even Prince, came out in 2006. The band officially went on hiatus in 2008, where it would remain until a performance at the 2011 Winnipeg Folk Festival. The following year saw the release of Collection, a career overview that included two new tracks.
© Erik Hage /TiVo
© Erik Hage /TiVo
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Folk/Americana - Released March 11, 2003 | Nettwerk Records
The homespun, slightly quirky approach that guided the Be Good Tanyas on Blue Horse permeates their enigmatically titled sophomore release too. If anything, these performances beckon the listener even more into the material, as a fiery hearth might draw strangers together on a cold night. The singing is raggedy and breathy, the instruments gently strummed or stroked; like whispered intimacies, these elements cast a conversational spell. When something extra is added, it comes in minimal doses -- a sprinkle of barely audible electric guitar and unobtrusive strings enhance, rather than delete, the acoustic ambience on "Dogsong 2," while two cameos by Olu Dara stir memories of Joni Mitchell's early tapestries of folk and jazz. No single tracks stand out, but that may be intentional; by sustaining its blurry, wistful mood with neither gimmick nor interruption, Chinatown feels like an evening well spent with old friends. © Robert L. Doerschuk /TiVo