Is it still considered Americana if it comes from Canada? Should we call it Canadacana? Whatever you want to label it, The Be Good Tanyas play it very, very well. The folksy, alt-country trio from the Great White North put out three killer albums in the early to mid 2000s and they’ve got a well-deserved retrospective album, A Collection (2000-2012), coming out next month. If you’re not familiar with the down home, harmony-filled sounds made by Frazey Ford, Trish Klein and Samantha Parton, you’ve got a chance to remedy that with the 5-song NoiseTrade sampler they’re currently offering.
Each of their three albums (Blue Horse, Chinatown and Hello Love) are represented on the sampler and they choose some great selections to showcase their amazing voices and their comfortable instrumental interplay. Each track is a strong representation of their talents and contains the unique ingredients each one contributes. “Human Thing” is a laid back little folk tune with a great groove and a sizzling harmonica. “It’s Not Happening” has a cool double acoustic, street corner busker vibe to it. “A Little Blues” bounces along on the back of a tasty banjo/fiddle combo. “The Coo Coo Bird” has a nice minor-key vibe, percussive railroad shuffle and a ghostly electric violin throughout. The closing track, a cover of Washington Phillips’ 1920s gospel classic, “What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?,” is one of the strongest tracks in The Be Good Tanyas entire catalog. Staying pretty close to the longing vibe of the original, all three ladies harmonize and play in that gorgeous high and lonesome territory of the mid-century, mid-American country/folk tunes of the past. If you download the sampler for this track alone, it’ll be well worth your time.
If you need some more great recommendations from The Be Good Tanyas, check out my personal favorites: their amazing cover of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” from Hello Love and their heartbreaking Christmas original, “Rudy.” I was pretty sad to hear of their self-imposed hiatus a few years back, but between Frazey Ford’s solo work and next month’s full band release (with two brand new songs!), it’s good to have them back on the scene in any way possible.
When writer Will Hodge isn’t digging, if you will, a picture, you can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack