On my way to The Sutler Saloon to talk with Tawnya Reynolds about her latest record, 8 Tracks, I was listening to the album for the fourth or fifth time in my car. Tawnya’s straight-forward brand of country songwriting pumped out of the speakers of my silver Dodge Grand Caravan and caught me feeling a little nostalgic for my time growing up in the Southwest.
It’s refreshing when an artist lives up to the hype. I always feel relieved for the artist, and selfishly, relieved as a listener that a great single hadn’t gotten my hopes up. Breakout artist Cam released Untamed, her first full length album, this week to much anticipation. And by much anticipation, I mean you couldn’t listen to country radio in Nashville for the past two months for thirty minutes without hearing “Burning House,” her breakout single, at least once.
Like many women my age, I spent much of my freshman and sophomore year of college crying to Adele. I was all about Adele. I’m not sure why, as it’s not like I had any dramatic relationships or star-cross’d lovers by 19, but Adele songs are sort of like the horoscopes in the newspaper: you can convince yourself they apply perfectly to any situation you are in-- like they were written just for you.
If you were to find the records of what I checked out of the Troy Public Library between the ages of 12 and 15, Darlene Love’s autobiography My Name is Love would be on there a solid four or five times. At that time, Love was making a living as an entertainer, but not a star, as she had been since the early 1980s. Doing musicals, session work, bit parts in films, and annual appearances on David Letterman’s Christmas show-- she was present, yet under the radar. Love was a cult favorite, a story of the perils of sixties pop, and a casualty of Phil Spector’s regime. She had become such a symbol of the past events in her life, that she was forgotten as a current performer.
About five years ago, a Darlene Love renaissance began. It wasn’t a comeback, as she never really left, and “renaissance” almost seems too understated a word. Learn her story-- she worked and worked at this for years, and now, at age 74, she just released a kickass album.