Home Read Classic Album Review: Be Good Tanyas | Blue Horse

Classic Album Review: Be Good Tanyas | Blue Horse

The rootsy Vancouver trio show off their gothic melodies and birdlike harmonies.

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Is it just me, or are there more Canadians playing Americana these days than Americans?

Between Vancouver bands like Radiogram and Flophouse Jr. and singers like Suzie (Oh Susanna) Ungerleider, you’d think folks in this country grew up picking cotton and sippin’ moonshine instead of shovelling snow and swilling Blue. Meet the latest gaggle of Appalachian-sounding gals, The Be Good Tanyas. They hail from Vancouver, although banjo picker Trish Klein is a former Winnipegger. But you’d never guess they were born north of the Mason-Dixon after bending an ear to their compelling debut disc Blue Horse. With its combination of rustic acoustic-folk instrumentation (banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, etc.), sparse, hauntingly gothic melodies and loose, birdlike three-part harmonies, these gals sound a little like Rickie Lee Jones, Edie Brickell, Victoria Williams and Dolly Parton sitting on the back porch, updating long-lost tracks from the Anthology of American Folk Music (as a nice touch, they even cover the original Oh Susanna). A few more acts like this and somebody might have to make a Canadian Anthology.