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'Hello Love' from Be Good Tanyas


The Be Good Tanyas are a trio from Vancouver, British Columbia. They draw from Appalachian and American gothic traditions. They've just released their third album, called Hello Love.

Meredith Ochs has a review.

(Soundbite of The Be Good Tanyas)

MEREDITH OCHS: The Be Good Tanyas make moody ruffian music inspired by old time string bands and low key back porch pickers. They call their sound Hobo Erotic, which suits their sort modern minstrelsy. The centerpiece of the trio is the sensuous vocal clever of Frazey Ford, whose singing is the oral equivalent of looking through an antique mirror.

(Soundbite of The Be Good Tanyas)

OCHS: But the magic really happens when Ford's voice blends with band mates Samantha Parton and Trish Klein.

(Soundbite of The Be Good Tanyas)

OCHS: Like sepia toned singer Gillian Welch, the Be Good Tanyas live and dress the part of folks obsessed with the bygone era. They seemingly immerse themselves in anachronisms, emerging with songs that sound effortlessly out of time. But before you imagine three young women in doughty old frocks driving around town in a Model T, check out their treatment of this song by Prince. Replacing the synthesizer and a drum machine of the original with acoustic guitar and brushes on a snare drum. The song is cleverly updated, or is that backdated?

(Soundbite of song, "When Doves Cry")

Ms. FRAZY FORD (The Be Good Tanyas): (Singing) How can you just leave me standing alone in a world so cold? Maybe I'm just too demanding. Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold. Maybe I'm just like my mother. She's never satisfied. Why do we scream at each other? This is what it sounds like when doves cry.

OCHS: On this new CD, the Be Good Tanyas welcome an old back friend back to the fold, singer/songwriter Jolie Holland. The Texas born troubadour co-founded the band and then embarked on a solo career. It was Holland who introduced the Tanyas to some of the more obscure music of the American south. Her haunted harmony gives songs like this one an otherworldly feel. This balance of sweet and spooky is at the heart of the Be Good Tanyas' timeless beauty. Decades from now, their musical sound is natural next to the traditional songs they love as it does today.

(Soundbite of song, "What Are They Doing in Heaven Today")

Mr. JOLIE HOLLAND (The Be Good Tanyas): (Singing) What are they doing in heaven today? If sinners and sorrow here won't go away. See the sun as they play. What are they doing with them?

BLOCK: We're listening to the CD called Hello Love by the Be Good Tanyas. Our reviewer is Meredith Ochs. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Meredith Ochs