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Tia McGraff Tia McGraff
Album: Stubborn In My Blood
Label: Bandana
Tracks: 11

Hot on the heels of her critically acclaimed 2015 release Crazy Beautiful, comes Stubborn in My Blood, which sees a continuation of her long time collaboration with her husband; writer and producer Tommy Parham. An intriguing title at first, it actually makes sense, considering so many recent world events. It makes even more sense once the songs have been heard. All are easy to listen to and to access both musically and lyrically, whilst conveying striking messages within.

The title track I can envisage as a radio single; the kind of song which once you hear, it stays in your head for hours. Pilot of Change is thought provoking; and speaks to our individual responsibilities. It makes me think of that long used phrase about being the change we want to see in the world; it starts with us and if we want to make the world a better place in which to live, we all have a part to play.

Those who have seen the duo live will instantly recognise Travelin' By Guitar, which describes their lives; sharing their songs with others. Hole in Your Heart was inspired by a friend across the pond and their many conversations during a difficult time. You can sense her personal connection to the lyrics, like she is speaking directly to that person. With that said, the lyrics are such that anyone experiencing a challenge can relate and draw comfort.

Strong offers a switch from guitar led to piano led backing and offers Tia the opportunity to take her vocals to places I am not sure she ever has before. Stunning. The Faithful Ones, a hope filled love song, contains some stunning imagery and together the vocals and band create something truly outstanding. An intriguing addition is a One Tin Soldier, a cover of a popular folk rock classic. Interestingly whilst this song was at its height in the late sixtes and early seventies, it fits perfectly with the message of the original songs in this collection, so its inclusion makes perfect sense, once heard.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of this CD is that it speaks the truth, yet offers hope. Tia's gift has always been her ability to reach to the soul of her listeners; in this collection she somehow both acknowledges and articulates how I think many are feeling at present, whilst offering reassurance that all is not lost. This truly is a CD of the time and one which both deserves and needs to be heard, in equal measure.

Helen Mitchell