Sylvia Tyson

REVIEW: Sylvia Tyson “At The End of the Day”


Sylvia Tyson – At The End of the Day

A decade off from recording the legendary folk singer Sylvia Tyson (Ian & Sylvia) has made this new collection her final album.

The opening tune “Sweet Agony,” shows how rich her 83-year-old vocal still is. I find Sylvia’s voice warm & distinctive as England’s June Tabor (that would’ve been a great pairing – Sylvia & June). Especially on songs with a Euro-Leonard Cohen-type flavor like “Leaves In the Storm.” Sylvia’s words are always inspiring with lines like “We were too old to be innocent, too young to be wise.”

Ms. Tyson feels it’s time to “retire,” so these songs explore a look back at her life, offer advice to aspiring singers & leave her contribution to popular culture unblemished — respectable. Many tunes are originals (Sylvia wrote the We Five hit “You Were On My Mind” & her partner the late Ian Tyson wrote the classic “Four Strong Winds”). Both are now standards.

The duo was influential (on Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Daniel Lanois & John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo & me – when I had my first band in the 60s & insisted on covering “You Were On My Mind” — an audience favorite).

With this Sylvia explores various elements & places. From kitchens to Berlin, rain-slicked streets to bluesy smoky cabarets & gardens. She kicks a little ass with the rollicking “Now Tell Me That You Got the Blues.” She never embellishes since her voice doesn’t require it. Her style is all atmosphere, groove, songwriting skill, words & remaining emblematic.

There are 12 pieces to At The End of the Day (Drops Nov 3–Stony Plain Records) produced by Danny Greenspoon. With “Cynical Little Love Song,” Sylvia’s written a song that’s gently tinted with The McGarrigle Sisters alchemy. It has that uplifting melodic Canadian magic.

Sylvia Tyson

This CD is pristine sound-wise – every word is sung meticulously. The recipient of music must remember that it’s something the soul interprets. Ms. Tyson has been this messenger for decades. She reaches the ears, but she also consistently touches places few songs do. It’s a skill beyond mere musicianship. “At the End of the Day” & “Janet’s Garden” achieve this.

It’s one of the year’s best…no doubt.

Highlights – “Sweet Agony,” “I Never Got Over You,” “Leaves In the Storm,” “Now Tell Me That You Got the Blues,” “Generous Heart,” “Cynical Little Love Song,” “No Coward, No Show,” “At the End of the Day” & “Janet’s Garden.”

Musicians – David DiRenzo (drums), Charles James (bass), Jason Fowler (guitar), John Sheard (piano), Drew Jurecka (violin/mandolin), Denis Keldie & Mark Lalama (accordion/B3).

CD cover image by Deborah Samuel. Image with guitar by Christopher Lawson. The 42-minute CD @ Bandcamp & Amazon.


Leave a Reply!