• Tom H

Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters (cover album)


Earlier this year, singer-songwriter Tanya Donelly (Belly, Throwing Muses, The Breeders) launched her Sunday Series on the Bandcamp music platform, where she recorded weekly cover songs with a variety of guest musicians and with all "tips in the jar" directly distributed to worthy organizations, non-profits, unemployed music venue staff and local musicians. Aroud the same time, Tanya had just finished up another covers project with the Wellfleet, MA-based Parkington Sisters, a string trio of sisters Rose, Sarah, and Ariel, who create enchanting, magical songs with lush layers of violin, viola, cello, guitar and piano.


Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters is the stunning result of Tanya's collaboration with the Parkington Sisters as this talented group covers nine of Tanya's favorite songs by The Go-Go's ("Automatic"), Leonard Cohen ("Dance Me to the End of Love"), The Kinks ("Days"), Echo & the Bunnymen ("Ocean Rain"), Wings ("Let Me Roll It"), The Pretenders ("Kid"), Linda Ronstadt ("Different Drum"), Split Enz ("Devil You Know"), and Mary Margaret O'Hara ("You Will Be Loved Again").

I especially love this cover album for several reasons. The vocals are soft, expressive and gorgeous, as one would expect from Tanya. The Parkington Sisters provide a breadth and depth to the vocal range and harmonies that elevates the overall atmosphere of the album. The charming string arrangements magnify and beautifully envelop the familiar melodies, making the album a pleasant, consistent listen throughout. The song selection is superb and comes through as very personal and authentic for Tanya. I love that "Automatic" was the song selected from The Go-Go's debut album, Beauty and the Beat, and that Tanya found herself reflecting back to the pre-Crowded House, Split Enz compositions of Neil Finn. In 1988, Mary Margaret O'Hara graced the world with her iconic Miss America album - it's touching to hear Tanya's cover of "You Will Be Loved Again," a perfect and moving close to this impressive album.


Tanya comments on the origins of the album, "When Joe from American Laundromat asked if I’d be interested in doing a covers album, I was hesitant, mainly because most of the songs I truly love are already perfect in their original form. But then I had the idea to ask the brilliant Parkington Sisters to be the band for this project, to bring their gorgeous sound and spirit, and make it something cohesive and centered. Happily, they said Yes. So I chose a handful of songs that have been on heavy rotation in my head and heart from the first time I heard them, and the Sisters took over." Tanya adds, "These are some of the most honest, moving, beautiful, unfiltered, true and cool songs that have ever been written, in my opinion. And those same adjectives apply to the Parkington Sisters as well."


The Parkington Sisters recall the invitation to collaborate to Tanya, "The entire journey of making this record was such a joy. When Tanya first reached out to us to see if we were interested in the concept, we were like, Are you kidding me!? Oh Sh*t!! and YES!!! Tanya is such an inspiration to us, not only for her unbelievable talent and incredible musicality, but also her pure heart and kind generous spirit. And her voice? It's unforgettable!"


About the recording process, Tanya remarks, "They [the Parkington Sisters] charted and plotted and arranged, and I joined Rose and Sarah and Ariel recording at Jon Evans’ Brick Hill Studio in Orleans MA, with guest players Matthias Bossi and Jon Evans (who also engineered). Lydia P put down some cello later, and I recorded additional vocals at Q Division Studios in Somerville MA, with James Bridges engineering."


Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters is available on all major digital and streaming platforms, and from American Laundromat Records in a variety of formats, including digital, cassette, CD and some lovely colored vinyl pressings. Give this album a listen and revisit some great compositions of the past in the form of these nine excellent cover songs.

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