Published Nov 22, 2010In saying "clocks and hearts keep going," and using the line as the title of her third record, Tanya Davis is assuring her listeners, and perhaps herself, that just as the passing of time is inevitable, life after loss is just as sure ― whether the heart thrives or simply survives is a matter of perspective. Marked by a singing style that's part sung, part spoken, her mellow pastoral folk is akin to a lullaby for grown-ups. Sadness is in the sound, in the moaning electric guitar that carpets Davis's soft, plaintive voice. Still, the melancholy is vaporous, never dampening the inherent hope and idealism of her poetry. A sleepy drum tempo, broken up by the bluesy guitar licks of producer Jim Bryson, props up the sublime lyrics of "One Room," distinguishing it as one of the standout tracks. Like some comforting white noise drowning out life's chaos, the drone of an organ textures the lovely "Don't Bury Me" and the spoken-word poetry of "Eulogy for You and Me," while the rhythmic handclapping of "Please Bless" helps to make it the record's perkiest song. The Halifax, NS singer-songwriter presents a consistent soundscape where subtlety and a minimalist approach allow her lyrics ample room to blossom in our minds.
This is your first record working with a producer. What was that experience like?
I stayed pretty open to his suggestions; I decided to go with a producer because I wanted to try something new. Jim Bryson had some ideas of places to take the songs. Some of the songs that I thought would be low-key ended up more upbeat; Jim suggested we add a beat to "Eulogy" and the harmonica to "Please Bless." I really liked how it turned out. There's a lot more instrumentation involved on this record; it's more textured than what I've done previously, but still sparse so the lyrics can stand out.
Are you reticent about sharing your lyrics?
No, my lyrics will be available online and in a few months I'll be putting out [the] vinyl with lyrics. I'm also hoping to put together little chapbooks to sell at shows for people who are interested.
Do you have any qualms about opening yourself emotionally?
Yeah, I'm scared! I wrote "Fauna" when I realized I was heading for impending heartbreak, again. It's my most vulnerable song, but I would rather do things with fear than not do them at all. It's kind of connected to the record's theme about mourning your losses and moving on. I'm grateful to be alive and I want to embrace what I've got. (Independent)