Be Good Tanyas founders will play The Palms

Be Good Tanyas founders will play The Palms on Nov. 4.
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The Be Good Tanyas includes, from left, Samantha Parton and Jolie Holland, perform at The Palms with a CD release show on Saturday, Nov. 4.

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Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton, founding members of beloved Americana group The Be Good Tanyas, have joined forces once again at a CD release show at The Palms Playhouse on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 8 p.m.

“Wildflower Blues” began with a phone call between the two friends. They hadn’t played together in years, but still shared a strong musical and personal connection.

Each has exerted a strong musical influence on the other. When they first met nearly 20 years ago on an East Vancouver street corner, the conversation inevitably turned to music. They soon co-founded The Be Good Tanyas, the groundbreaking roots act that used traditional folk, country and blues to explore a range of different styles and sounds. Holland departed the group after only one album, but remained hopeful that she and Parton would collaborate in the future.

That phone call turned out to be well-timed for both musicians. Touring for Holland’s sixth solo album had wound down, and although she had songs for a follow-up, she was hesitant to re-embark on that promotional cycle. Parton, on the other hand, was still recovering from two serious car accidents that left her unable to play music and struggling to connect with her creativity.

“I was in this wilderness of health problems, ” Parton said,  “and I hadn’t been able to do anything musically for three years. When Jolie called me up, I was so sick of lying on my back staring at the ceiling in a doctor’s office that I was ready to say yes to anything, whether I could do it or not. ”

The two began by writing a few songs together at Parton’s home in Vancouver.  “I had a bunch of unfinished material, ” said Holland,  “and Sam had some half-written songs she wanted to work on. ”

When Parton felt stronger, they embarked on a low-key tour, both to road-test their new songs and ease Parton back into the exertions of touring.

Emboldened by a successful tour together, they decamped to Mike Coykendall’s Portland, Oregon studio and Holland assembled a three-piece backing band.

As they worked, the songs took on lives of their own. The title track began as an acoustic blues tune that gradually transformed into a swampy psych jam.

“I’m a wildflower standing in the sun, ” Parton sings, her voice hanging in the air like humidity.  “I bust through the cracks when the springtime comes. ”

“Honestly, ” said Parton,  “after the car accidents, I thought if I ever make an album again, it’ll have to be about recovery. But this album, aside from the title track, actually has very little to do thematically with any of that stuff. It’s like just stepping back into the stream of music and seeing where it takes you. ”

The album wanders from rural blues to folk and ragtime, from smoky jazz to emotive R&B and fearless rock & roll. The album features mostly original tracks written by Holland and Parton, as well as re-imagined versions of songs by Bob Dylan, Michael Hurley and Townes Van Zandt.

“I think we know that is the beginning of more collaboration between us, ” said Parton.  “I feel like this is our first album. ”

Tickets are $20 and are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland and at the door if not sold out.

For more information, visit palmsplayhouse.com and jolieandsamantha.com.

 

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