It will be a slightly downsized but no less brilliant Be Good Tanyas that take the Hamilton stage this evening. Founding member Sam Parton was involved in a car accident early last month, and she was forced to drop out of this leg of the tour as she continues her recovery in the band’s home town of Vancouver.
While Parton will be missed, the other two Tanyas, Frazey Ford and Trish Klein, are a formidable musical presence on their own. The band’s three albums, Blue Horse, Chinatown, and Hello Love are superb, and the highlights were assembled on this year’s Collection 2000-2012.
The Tanyas make some of the most understated and beautiful acoustic music out there – a mix of folk, country, and bluegrass that revolves around the harmonies and interplay of the band members. While some folk bands aspire to sound “old-timey,” the Tanyas’ music transcends that kind of label – it’s simple, well-constructed, and a joy to listen to. Drummer John Raham and bassist Mark Beaty will join Ford and Klein to fill out the sound, but really, the two could show up sans instruments and still put on a fantastic show.
To put the Tanyas’ musical output into perspective, they’ve released just three albums in 12 years; show opener Dan Bern has released three albums since May, beginning with Drifter, a wonderful roots-rock travelogue that illustrates why he’s one of the best singer-songwriters in the business. Bern’s live shows are always fantastic, blending serious subjects and surreal stories with the skill of a juggler.
One missing Be Good Tanya won’t detract from a night of wonderful acoustic music.
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