Saturday, October 14, 2023
Oregon-based songwriter Anna Tivel’s newest album Outsiders starts with a lens so wide we’ve left the planet to look back from a great distance at the turmoil and beauty of our shared humanity. From there, the lens pulls close and unfolds in a gripping collection of stories so often ignored. Tivel’s flawed and honest characters move through a landscape of hurt and loss, of small triumph and big love. In 11 songs full of recognition, veracity and hope, Tivel’s watchful and empathetic eye details the undeniable ache of living.
Outsiders, look up / The night is dark but brilliant and it turns out we are not so different
Recorded almost entirely live to tape in Rock Island, IL with producer and multi-instrumentalist Shane Leonard and engineer Brian Joseph (Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens), the album is a truly collaborative exploration. Tivel gathered the same vibrant group of friends from her acclaimed record, The Question, which NPR heralded as “one of the most ambitious folk records of 2019.”
“We holed up together in a little house a few miles from the studio,” she says, “walked there every day to sink deep into the music. No one had heard the songs beforehand, and I would play each one sitting on the floor trying to convey the gut feeling. Then we’d face each other in a circle and feel our way through, working to find the heart of each song in a few takes. Shane brings this layer of uninhibited magic to every session, setting the stage for everyone to listen deep and react with open doors. He gives himself as fully to sonic atmosphere as I do to words and I have a great amount of trust in his vision and admiration for the care he takes with the world of each song.”