Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on May 13th 2010 3:30PM by Tabassum Siddiqui
Fans missing honey-voiced Vancouver folk-roots trio the Be Good Tanyas -- currently on hiatus from recording and touring -- will warmly welcome the news that member Frazey Ford is slated to release her debut solo album, 'Obadiah,' in July.
Following ten years and three critically acclaimed records with the Tanyas, Ford felt ready to tell her own story.
Inspired by motherhood and her growing love of soul music, she recorded the 13-track 'Obadiah' last summer in Vancouver with the help of everyone from bandmate Trish Klein to her landlord and next-door neighbour, who dropped by the sessions to lend a hand.
Ford notes that being freed from the restraints of being in a band allowed her to veer into newfound musical territory without the expectations that go along with being part of a popular group or having to hew to others' songwriting ideas. That autonomy is evident on first single 'Firecracker,' which manages to sound not too far removed from the Be Goods' rustic approach -- largely thanks to the strummy banjo forming the backbone of the melody -- while also revealing Ford's own distinctive style.
The unhurried yet memorable melody mirrors the easy, low-key recording process Ford undertook to make the album -- one can almost picture the musicians sitting around together campfire-style to work on the song. There's a darker tinge, both lyrically and musically, than the Be Goods' material -- Ford's sultry, rolling vocals paired with the bluesy edge of the banjo and brushed percussion suggests an almost Southern Gothic vibe that's a departure from her band's gentler, prettier tone.
Those trademark harmonies are still omnipresent, however, with a ensemble of sweet yet almost ghostly background voices bolstering the choruses. 'Firecracker' also reveals Ford's strength as a songwriter -- the evocative narrative unfurls through her expressive imagery and wordplay ("Hallelujah, the sparks flew up to heaven").
As it happens, tunes like 'Firecracker' suggest that Ford's new direction is not unlike that of her former Be Good Tanyas bandmate Jolie Holland, who left the group years ago to embark on a successful solo career. Ford's new material indicates it wouldn't be entirely surprising if she, too, found her own niche within the alt-folk realm.