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Blue Horse (Bonus Version)

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Album Review

Since the advent of CDs, reviewers ceased using phrases like, "From the moment the needle hit the vinyl, it was clear that Blue Horse had a beautiful, layered sound." Whatever the medium, the Be Good Tanyas have a knack for recharging traditional pieces with a sonic twist. Who would even think to take on a warhorse like "The Coo Coo Bird" or add electric guitar and drums to "Rain and Snow?" Frazey Ford, Samantha Parton, and Trish Klein sing, play multiple instruments (acoustic and electric), and, now and then, write their own material. They fill out their sound with a number of guests who add bass, drums, and a few other embellishments. Guest Jolie Holland adds her vocals to the breezy opener, "The Littlest Birds," a song that borrows, and puts to good use, a few lyrics from Syd Barrett's "Jug Band Blues." A pure country sound washes over "Broken Telephone," at least until an electric guitar takes a break about mid-way, while a jaunty banjo and mandolin energize "Lakes of Pontchartrain." Ford and Parton capably handle most of the vocals but what makes these singers special is how their voices mix and mingle in songs like "Up Against the Wall" and on the latter part of "Only in the Past." The same is true of their instrumental approach. Their motto might be "If it's kind of different and sounds cool, let's see if it will work." The production isn't neutral. Everything has been brightened a bit, and while this might have been distracting on a traditional album with a traditional approach, it perfectly balances the more experimental approach here. Blue Horse is a lovely debut, full of promise and great tunes. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi

Customer Reviews

It grows on you

Easily their best album, there's some good folk at the heart of this collection. Very rootsy. This album started of off a little rocky for me as it took a while to get into it, but it definitely grows on you. This stuff is raw. That's both a good and a bad thing though. Good in the sense that there's some very important basics there. Bad because, as their future albums show, it was not to be built on. After this album they only lost that rawness, but didnt shore up their vocals.
The vocals can be occasionally weak here. Sometimes the vocals are reminiscent of Shakira in it's warbly goatness. Sometimes so much so that I can't really understand what one of the girls is singing. Most songs on this album have great instrumental work, but some are killed by the vocals.
The song The Littlest Birds is such an anomaly here. This song is epic and beautiful. Simple and, actually, well sung. Nothing else they ever did can touch it. Almost as if it was by a completely different band. So puzzling. I want more like that, but that clearly does not seem forthcoming.


Formed: 1999 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
Full Bio
Blue Horse (Bonus Version), The Be Good Tanyas
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Customer Ratings