Penguin Eggs

Wednesday, 03 July 2019 16:11


Written by Mike Sadava
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Rising Tide (Independent)

There’s a real danger in releasing a debut album that sounds so good.

Taivi, a Toronto-based songwriter who employs the single monicker, met Claire Lynch, who now spends much of her time in Canada, and the bluegrass legend agreed to mentor her by Skype. When it came time to record, Taivi used Lynch’s band of heavy seasoned musicians such as Mark Schatz and Jarrod Walker on most of the tracks, as well as Lynch’s backup vocals, adding local Ontario notables such as Ken Whitely. The recording took place in Guelph, Toronto, Nashville, and Frankfurt, Germany. This was not an inexpensive album to make.

The result, as I earlier said, sounds mighty fine to these ears. This is a pop-folk album with a taste of bluegrass. Some of the instrumental passages are awe-inspiring, background vocals are perfect, production is pristine.

The big question is whether Taivi’s voice and the songs match the quality of the background. No doubt she can write a good melody. There’s a lot of heartfelt longing here (as in Get On Home) and love, and Clearwater, a song she dedicated to the late Pete Seeger and his effort to clean up the Hudson River. I like the direct simplicity in her lyrics. Her voice is easy to listen to, perhaps a little too easy. I would have liked to hear a bit more edge, a bit more variation.

I’ve got to hand it to Taivi for putting her money where her mouth is. But as I said, there is a danger—it’ll be a hard one to follow in a couple of years when she puts out her next disc. And she’ll never sound this good live, unless she can convince these amazing musicians to tour with her. Given the big names they all play for, she could be a few years away from that. Hopefully these high-powered connections will help her get some traction and give her the means to attract some good musicians to tour with.

All that said, this is an album that’s worth having. I’ve listened to it half a dozen times, and it sounds better every time.

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