The Be Good Tanyas
City Halls, Glasgow, Sun 22 July
‘We approach music simply, very simply,’ says Sam Parton of Vancouver-based trio The Be Good Tanyas. ‘In terms of production, we don’t tend to stray too far from what our capacities are as a live band,’ she adds. ‘The most important thing we try to capture in the studio, more than a perfect performance, is the raw emotion of a song.’
Their latest album, Hello Love, grew slowly out of a wealth of recordings laid down over the course of just over a year and is their third full-length release after Blue Horse (2000) and Chinatown (2003). A warm collection of beguiling bluegrass, gospel and folk harmonies, it focuses on tradition, simplicity, and, incongruously but effectively, a soporific cover of ‘When Doves Cry’ by Prince as a hidden track.
‘If I’m singing someone else’s song I really enjoy reinterpreting what they’ve done,’ muses fellow band member Frazey Ford. ‘But I have to connect with it as though those words were coming from me. I definitely enjoy inhabiting other people’s material.’
As for their own songs, Sam says: ‘We didn’t do any pre-production; we really didn’t discuss much what songs were going to go on the record. We went in and started laying things down as we felt them. It wasn’t necessarily the most focused approach to making an album, but it worked. Despite how long it took, and despite what didn’t make the cut, I think it’s a good album. It’s a pretty true statement of where the band is at.’