“She’s sort of a kindred spirit in a lot of ways,” says Lynch. “She writes straight from the heart and she has a bare-bones sincerity in what she wants to say. She speaks out from her own life experiences and it was fun to help her interpret those experiences and work with her in the capacity of mentorship. I enjoyed the challenge.”
Taivi and Lynch struck up an advisory relationship on Skype, but when it came time to record the actual tracks for Rising Tide, Lynch went a step further – and connected Taivi with her own band members for the core instrumentation for the project. Hence, Taivi’s new album has the incredible Claire Lynch Band musicians included on the sessions, including bass player Mark Schatz (Nickel Creek, Tony Rice, Tim O’Brien, Maura O’Connell); guitarist, fiddler and mandolin player Bryan McDowell (Sierra Hull, Alison Brown, Mountain Heart); guitarist and mandolin player Jarrod Walker (Missy Raines) and guitarist Matt Wingate (Greencards.)
The standard of excellence on the album sessions continued with chief engineering by Nicolas Tjelios (Basia Bulat, Jenny Whiteley, Ken Whiteley). “And Nik's engineering and mixing made this multi-country/multi-studio recording feel seamless.” Ken Whiteley’s Casa Wroxton, housed the Toronto branch of the recording, with Lynch advising sessions in Nashville and even Frankfurt – where she and Taivi met up during a European tour. It was mastered back in Toronto by Grammy winner Peter J. Moore (Cowboy Junkies, Bob Dylan & The Band – The Complete Basement Tapes).
Other celebrated musicians include veteran drummer Bucky Berger (Murray McLauchlan, Colin Linden); esteemed album artist and producer Scott Merritt (Fred Eaglesmith, Garnet Rogers) who during a mixing session at his Guelph studio – The CottaGe – added a needed banjo touch to a tribute to Pete Seeger’s Hudson River clean-up project, “The Clearwater;” Ken Whiteley, whose Dobro swings in “Strawberry Lane”- a jaunty whimsy about turning the corner in romance; Katherine Wheatley, who contributed backing vocals to an uplifting track about her hometown, Parry Sound; as well as Toronto-based musicians, Garth Douglas, Jayne Mitchell and Mary Bennet.
As for the music itself, Taivi says the songs reflect “life and connections.” Whether it’s a song about taking stock like the easygoing, up-beat “Red Moon Rise,” the infectious exuberance of “When I’m With You” – her duet with Nova Scotia recording artist Ryan Roberts – or the sobering waltz “One More Dance,” reflecting the awareness of time and its fleeting fragility, Taivi bares her soul and heart with every note of her beguiling alto.
“We are living in challenging times but this can draw people to what really matters, and lead to a new momentum and energy. The notion of a rising tide captures this for me – movement that can be imperceptible on the surface, but keeps raising us up.”
Taivi’s debut album, Rising Tide, launched to critical and popular acclaim – posting in the top 25 of the International Folk DJ Chart, receiving 4 of 5 stars from the Netherlands and taking the top spot of the Roots Music chart in Kamloops beside her longtime hero Buffy Sainte Marie.
Thirteen songs deep and recorded in different locales on the planet, ranging from Toronto, Guelph and Nova Scotia in Canada to Nashville, Tennessee and even Frankfurt, Germany, Rising Tide is a culmination of a lifetime of music and expression of Taivi, who composes on guitar, piano and mandolin.
And in an interesting twist, much of what made it onto this album was inspired by an unlikely friendship with internationally renowned bluegrass star Claire Lynch.
Taivi first became aware of Lynch when a fellow musician gifted her a compilation of female bluegrass artists – O’ Sister! (The Women’s Bluegrass Collection.) “Claire’s rendition of Gretchen Peters’ – ‘If Wishes Were Horses,’ – had me listening on repeat. I loved the energy of that recording and even brought it into my repertoire,” Taivi explains.
“Years later, Claire started to date a fellow I knew, up here in Toronto so we had a chance to meet. I introduced myself and asked if she would consider a mentoring session,” says Taivi. Lynch, the Grammy-nominated and three-time International Bluegrass Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year, said the choice to work with Taivi was easy.