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This Hungry Life

Tanya Donelly

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Album Review

Upon the release of her 2004 acoustic beauty Whiskey Tango Ghosts, Tanya Donelly and her band — husband/guitarist Dean Fisher (Juliana Hatfield Three), violinist Joan Wasser (Dambuilders, Joan as Police Woman), bassist Joe McMahon (Señor Happy, Smoke or Fire), and drummer Arthur Johnson (Come) — gathered at the old Windham Hotel in Bellows Falls, VT, for a series of weekend concerts. There, Donelly performed old favorites and new tracks in front of a small club audience in the midst of a summer heat wave. This Hungry Life is the culmination of those new songs, but it's not exactly a proper live album. Donelly's desire was to capture the rawness and simplicity of these songs without a typical studio approach, adding a bit of freshness to the overall recording process itself. Sifting through her usual reflections of love, loss, and life isn't so much the focus here; just listen to "Littlewing," a romantic tale that's inspired by Donelly's two daughters, Gracie and Harriet (second daughter Harriet Pearl Fisher was born in March 2006). Her optimism is golden and soothing as she recounts the love in her life while encouraging her daughters to find happiness while exploring all of life's offerings. Donelly's shining kindness also comes through in the buoyant guitar layers and distinctively sweet vocals of "New England" and the playful barroom number "To the Lighthouse." Having Buffalo Tom's Bill Janovitz in tow for a touching rendition of George Harrison's "Long Long Long," complete with Wasser's silvery strings, enhances Donelly's cozy performance once more. When all is said and done, This Hungry Life is quintessential Tanya.

Biography

Born: July 14, 1966 in Newport, RI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

A founding member of three of the most successful bands of the post-punk era, singer/songwriter Tanya Donelly was born July 14, 1966, in Newport, RI. At the age of 16, she and stepsister Kristin Hersh formed Throwing Muses, which in 1985 became the first American band ever signed to the influential British label 4AD; not only did the Muses' dreamy, swirling guitar sound prove highly influential on many of the alternative acts to emerge in their wake, but they also made any number of unprecedented...
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This Hungry Life, Tanya Donelly
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