Suzanne Jarvie – In The Clear
Two weeks ago I hadn’t heard of this singer-songwriter from Toronto. Now, she is on repeat play constantly having audibly devoured this album, and tracking down its inspiring predecessor, ‘Spiral Road’.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve been so taken by a “new” voice, but Suzanne Jarvie possesses an instrument of rare beauty. Hints of Emmylou, Joni, and Lucinda, certainly, but there is a clarity and intent all her own. The vocal conviction is helped by the quality of material she has given herself. At times deeply personal, at others, encrypted in strange allegorical tales that defy simple explanation but contain such beautiful poetic imagery, that the listener is brought along by the pictures it paints
Two faced coin spinning in the sky. Heads you win, tails, you gonna die. Still as the wings on a dead butterfly curled in the palm of a sun coloured lie.
Suzanne Jarvie’s first album was a deeply personal account of her coming to terms with a near fatal accident her son experienced which left him with wild and unpredictable mood swings. The traumatic event and on-going care required as a result produced a cathartic album of great depth and beauty. This album expands on some of those themes, as Suzanne mediates on acceptance, survival and moving on.
Coming out of the increasingly prolific Wolfe Island records (David Corley, Hadley McCall Thackston, Stephen Stanley) and produced by the ever reliable Hugh Christopher Brown, positive indicators were all over this album’s cover, but the proof comes with listening.
Starting with the sprightly country-tinged fable of love over fear, ‘The Headless Rider’, the standard is set high, and rarely dips. The lovely ‘Carpenter Bay’, a duet with Suzanne’s daughter is a highlight and augurs well for the younger Jarvie. Title track ‘In the Clear’ is another high point, with its optimistic message of leaving the past behind, and making a new start.
Little signs are everywhere, at the cherry blossom fair pale pink petals are raining down, on apple carts and plastic crowns. Somewhere far away from here, long before the sun appears, you will feel every single fear, you will feel it, feel it ’til you’re back in, back in the clear.
But always there is her voice, crystal clear with a
Flecked with a country tinge, and littered with engrossing short sci-fi, and gothic tales, interspersing Suzanne Jarvie’s own personal story of survival, this is an album I will return to over the years. I can’t wait to hear the next chapter of the journey.
‘In The Clear’ is available now on Wolfe Island Records.