Tia McGraff Break These Chains

Break These Chains Tia McGraff.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

Canadian singer /songwriter Tia McGraff’s new body of work is maybe her finest to date. Sometimes by album number 5 an artist becomes complacent, satisfied with rehashing and redoing their past work. Same old wine in a  different bottle. Fortunately Tia has not fallen into that trap. She continues to grow and expand her talents as a songwriter and as a fine singer. McGraff has that quality, naturally, that singers strive for; believability. She sounds like she means every word she sings without being over the top. In other words the emotion in the song is genuine. That’s because Tia has learned in her songwriting to sing of what she knows and can feel,which produces the honesty in her delivery.

The opening cut, "Nighthawk" sets the mood for the 12 song collection and is a perfect lead in to the masterful “Reckonin’” and acoustic masterpiece, very southern backwoods feel, warning of the reckoning that’s coming to us all. Partner Tommy Parnham, who produced the album in conjunction with McGraff, uses his understated harmony vocals to their full potential. A perfect blend.

There is not a weak track on this album and there is a thread that runs through the whole collection. It sounds like McGraff and Parnham sat in a cabin far away from the plugged in and  busy world of the 21st century and wrote the whole album completely focused and unbothered by outside distractions.

Tia McGraffTia McGraff“Stranger to Paradise” and “Break These Chains” lead into “Conductor For a Day” a great train song, masterfully written and performed. “Messed Up World” with it’s haunting slide guitar talks of the world we have made for ourselves. “Safer Place” shows McGraff softer vocal prowess while “Saints and Angels” showcases the vocal blend of McGraff and Parnham.

“Between the Bed And The Door” is a unique way of telling a common story. So well done, deserves to be heard.

“Come Up Roses” is very Mary Chapin Carpenter in feel, content and performance. Love it! “Abagail”,  a historical story song in a comfortable waltz feel, leads up to closing song “Whiskey Ship”, another sea song about a prohibition whiskey ship set to a singalong chorus.

The production of this CD was split between Ottawa, Ontario and Austin, Texas. Jonathan Edwards at his Corvidae Studio in Ottawa did the tracks and vocals which were mixed in Austin by Rick DeLellis. The CD was mastered in Caledonia, Ontario by Nick Blagona.

This is, in this writers mind, the finest album Tia McGraff has done to date. If you are a Tia McGraff fan run out and buy it. If you’re not a Tia McGraff fan, run out and buy it. You will become a fan in 49 minutes.