maandag 20 juli 2020

Love Life. Tawny Ellis

Love Life is an album that takes the listener through life at a later stage. The romantic time of moonlight and roses is long gone. It's time to face the music of what really lies beneath the surface, "into the deep end of love". The result is an album that presents that depth in the form of a set of beautifully crafted, played and sung songs.

Tawny Ellis lives in Los Angeles and releases her seventh recording, two E.P.s and five L.P.s. For Love Life she worked with Jesse Eisenberg (Promise of the Real) and Ted Russell Kamp as co-writers and producers.

Looking at the cover I'm reminded of the assistant secretary of Defence of my country. It did not invite me to start listening. I'm glad I did anyway as Tawny Ellis brings together many of the good things of 70s West Coast (country) rock in her music. With a voice that has a nice edge to it without coming close to Stevie Nicks. She dominates her songs in the way a solo artist should. There's no doubt who's album this is. With a voice like hers that was the correct choice to make. In fact it was a tip from Don Was that certainly paid out here.

Do not expect a fiery album. Love Life is a singer-songwriter album filled with a solid and sound background. The songs may have been written on an omnichord, that instrument is, at best, just an instrument on Love Life. This is a band effort in many ways. From a mild rocker to atmospheric violin accompaniment, it all comes by but with only one reason: to make Tawny Ellis shine.

The hardest song to write Ellis said, is 'Daddy'. It turned out as a song with mostly a piano and her voice. Intense and commanding. Her choice for a cover and closing of Love Life is 'Dirty Work', one of the many great songs on Steely Dan's album 'Can't Buy A Thrill'. The song is just as serious as nearly all songs on Love Life are and still it adds a touch of lightness.

Before that end there are nine songs that attest to Tawny Ellis' talents and her talent to work with the right people. My best guess is that all involved stepped up to the challenge and made the sum a bit larger than the parts. At the right moments an extra instrument is added to change the mood a little, an eerie peddle steel guitar, something more electronic like e.g. in 'Moonshine'. It alters the course of the album just a little and more subtle than what would happen on a more country oriented album. Love Life is so much more interesting. Listen to 'Pretend Love' and be convinced.

It took me two listening session to be convinced that Love Life is an album of extreme worth and warmth. From there there was no looking back. Tawny Ellis has a brand new fan.


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