I was lucky enough to see Tamara Stewart playing a solo acoustic set, courtesy of the UMC, recently and I was struck by the intense story she told through her songs, not to mention her innate sense of humour. She is Australian born and now resides in Nashville so her voice has a different timbre to most but she is clearly a Country singer with influences from both homes.
Now I have the album I can really delve into her music and the album is every bit as intense and strong as the songs are played live. Essentially, this is a classic Country album. The music is split into three sections: Ruin, Recovery & Rising describing the end of her marriage, her rediscovery of self and her striding forward as a free and powerful woman.
She shades her songs, telling her tales with emotion and never leaving the listener in doubt as to the passage of her life – she wrote 14 of the 15 songs here and has a fine sense for developing the emotional tale in the music. The playing is quite excellent and her singing is definitely moving and warm. She produced the album herself so all told this is a very personal project.
All the songs tell a very specific part of her story but many of them also stand up in their own right – ‘Haunted House’ is particularly strong as is the opener ‘Birds In Cages’ but my favourite is the title track, part of the Recovery section of the album and redolent with sombre emotion – Aubrey Hanie’s bass violin really gets the feeling over brilliantly.
I’m not generally a Country fan but good music is good music no matter the genre and this is very good indeed.