Oregon-based songwriter Anna Tivel’s newest album ‘Outsiders’ starts with a lens so wide we’ve left the planet to look back from a great distance at the turmoil and beauty of our shared humanity. From there the lens pulls close and unfolds in a gripping collection of stories so often ignored. Tivel’s flawed and honest characters move through a landscape of hurt and loss, of small triumph and big love. In eleven songs full of recognition, veracity, and hope, Tivel’s watchful and empathetic eye details the undeniable ache of living.
Throughout her work, Tivel has emphasized storytelling and this album is no exception, building on the strength of her ability to observe and reflect with a clear-eyed empathy. Inspired by authors from Steinbeck to Morrison, Didion to Dubus, she imbues her songs with attentive detail and a dreamlike quality that leaves the ordinary feeling both palpable and poetic. “Tivel’s characters are common but unforgettable,” NPR’s Ann Powers writes, “Her images linger, and become populated with the energy of the real.”