The Be Good Tanyas
First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2006, Volume 13, #10
Written by John Metzger
The Be Good Tanyas may have replaced the Townes Van Zandt and Peter Rowan covers of Chinatown with material by Neil Young (For the Turnstiles) and Prince (When Doves Cry). Yet, its latest effort Hello Love still manages to retain the haunted, rustic essence that clung so tightly to each of the groupís first two endeavors. Traditional, gospel-imbued songs such as Out of the Wilderness and What Are They Doing in Heaven Today alternately are filled with chillingly ominous overtones and a sense of wistful, weary warmth, while streams of sunlight succeed in filtering through the instrumentation that graces the moody melancholia of Mississippi John Hurtís Nobody Cares for Me.
Nevertheless, Hello Love also finds The Be Good Tanyas continuing to push its music ever so slowly in a more contemporary direction. Its modifications are subtle, yet the rock ínĎ roll undercurrents undeniably are both present and effective. Hints of Youngís work hover over the hushed, ethereal piano ballad Song for R., and they blow through the harmonica accompaniment and droning chug of Human Thing. Elsewhere, Ootischenia settles comfortably into its rolling, country groove, while Old Crow Medicine Show assists in adding some extra propulsion to the backwoods bluegrass of A Little Blues. The highlight of Hello Love, however, is a tender cover of folk singer Sean Hayesí A Thousand Tiny Pieces. Here, The Be Good Tanyas combines an intimate, bare-bones arrangement with delicate vocal harmonies in order to convey the wondrous beauty of the universe.
For the record, there is a fractious quality that lingers beneath the surface of Hello Love, and itís likely that the collection was stitched together from individual components rather than assembled by The Be Good Tanyas in a fully cooperative fashion. A little tension within a group isnít necessarily a bad thing, though, and for now at least, it has helped drive the competitive spirits of the ensembleís individual members, thereby keeping the overall quality of its recordings aloft. Ĺ
Hello Love is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box