Songbirds

  • Artist: The Be Good Tanyas
  • Title: Blue Horse
  • Released: 2000
  • Format: CD, Digital Download
  • Genre: Americana/Folk
  • Beverage of Choice: Moonshine

I’ve always been a sucker for layered, nuanced and clear album mixes regardless of musical genre and, in this case, the arrangements and production of traditional and new folk songs is a stellar example. On the first bar of “The Littlest Birds” the attention to detail and pains taken to elevate the somewhat simple music to a great experience is evident.

Hailing from Vancouver, The Be Good Tanyas have a small but expressive catalog, carving out a niche in the generally cluttered and undifferentiated genre. It’s not easy breathing new life into old tunes and it’s even more difficult to come up with something distinctively new but they succeed on both counts admirably. The music is deftly presented with a minimum of fuss or sonic trickery with small touches here and there (a breathy line, electric guitar behind the mix, banjo counterpoint) and, especially for a debut album, the group display a control and surety of vision that belies their experience.

Listen to the intermingled harmonies on a song like “Broken Telephone” with a bright mandolin playing the role of a third voice and then electric guitar solo and you’ll be left wondering and marveling at how uplifting and joyous the song is even with a rather maudlin lyrical content. These thematic elements (counterpoint, harmony and clear, bright production pervade the album, making it an absolute listening pleasure from beginning to end – slap on a pair of good headphones for an optimal experience.

Published by Rick Adams

Husband, father, music lover

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