Tanya Savory,
Where We Live
(Rounder/Philo, 2002)

What do I make of an artist that reminds me, by turns, of Nanci Griffith, Patti Loveless, the Indigo Girls, Mike Cross, Natalie Merchant and most especially Mary Chapin Carpenter? Since I am a big partisan of the music of all of these artists, I guess that makes Tanya Savory a lucky discovery for me. In Where We Live, the second Philo outing for Savory, she makes a place for all of us in tangible slices of her world.

This is a familiar world to many of us. The grass is "Bluer," to invoker her opening tune, and the pride of one who loves living in the American South is woven through the title song, "Where We Live." Down the street, the branches of "This Old Tree" enfold our lives and our memories, and thoughts of "Carolina" sustain us even when far removed from home. It should come as no surprise that a singer-songwriter would mourn the passing of the old "Nashville," nor that the pain of lost love finds such a touching expression in "Losing Me."

In this world, there's a honky-tonk who's best days may well be behind it "Down at the Do Drop," and there are dreams of half a world away in "The Biggest Share." The pull of home remains strong in "County Fair," and the game of chance between those in love is explored in "Any Way it Lands." Ultimately, the romance of the road is stronger, with the nostalgic closing tune, "The Road Was New."

This is a gentle set of simple songs presented in a straightforward manner. There is a fashion in some circles today to decry simple music and forthright presentation, but the more I thrash about in our increasingly complex world, the more I cherish the virtues of simplicity. Any fans of the folks mentioned in the opening paragraph who have not yet discovered Savory are in for a real treat. Anyone who admires the craft of a well-turned singer-songwriter are likewise encouraged to spend some time Where We Live.

[ by Gilbert Head ]
Rambles: 16 June 2002

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