Toronto’s Taivi dives deep on new album Rising Tide with help from the Claire Lynch Band
“We are living in challenging times,” Toronto singer/songwriter Taivi says when describing her creative drive, “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 – like movement beneath the surface that can be imperceptible but keeps raising us up.”
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, Taivi’s new album Rising Tide is a culmination of a lifetime of music and expression. 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,” Taivi explains at her Toronto home, adorned with a beautiful grand piano in the living room and sitting next to a mandolin on her couch. “I loved the energy of that recording and even brought it into my repertoire. And then some years later, Claire started to date a fellow I knew, up here in Toronto. She had come to Canada to celebrate his birthday and at his party, I went up to her, introduced myself and asked if she would ever consider doing a mentoring session.”
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, 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).
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. “She’s sort of a kindred spirit in a lot of ways,” says Lynch. “She writes straight from the heart and 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.”
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.
“I’ve always felt most at home with music,” says Taivi, whose Estonian heritage has always made singing and musicianship a priority. “So for me, it’s just natural to write and play. I feel lucky to have a body of work like Rising Tide out there. From the inspiration for the songs through the production, it has drawn from and brought together beautiful influences in my life. It’s a continuing journey – and I’m looking forward to where the next step is going to take me.