‘The Canoe’ is the third album by Brighton based singer-songwriter Carrie Tree. The listener is drawn into her world of mystical storytelling and sublime melody through the production and arrangements of Markus Sieber (known for his ambient acoustic recordings as Aukai).
Created here is a spatial, delicate sound that allows Carrie’s mesmeric voice and rhythmic, ﬂuid guitar style to take centre stage, with piano and other instrumentation adding to the soundscape. “I was captivated by the tender yet expansive power in Carrie’s voice and music,” says Markus. “My main focus was to bring out quiet, subtle qualities that could weave the listener gently into her evocative and mysterious songs.”
They worked remotely across the seas through a winter, drawing on a palette of diverse international musicians. With Markus based in Colorado and Mexico, and Carrie in London and Sussex, they met ‘halfway’ in the spring of 2018 to complete the record in Greenhouse Studios, Iceland.
The album title reflects the symbolic and metaphorical signiﬁcance of canoes and journeys taken on water. “In many traditions there is the idea that we are born on a canoe (via the mother’s body) and when we die, we leave on one too,” Carrie explains. “A lot of the songs have birth, death, water, home and travel as their central themes, so the idea of a canoe felt like a beautiful symbol for that.” One of the songs, ‘Honey Soup’, is about the body as a vessel, as a home in life, while the title track is about the gateway, fragility and power of birth.
The shell pendant used as the front cover image is also a type of vessel. “It was given to me by one of my dearest friends, who took their own life a few years ago. This is an object that links us together through the river of life and death.”
Carrie also speaks of the power of setting time aside for journeys. “As everything seems to be moving faster and faster in life, turning off the computer, returning to simplicity and recentring, feels more important than ever.” The owner of a canoe herself, she continues: “The joy of having everything I need in my boat and setting off, carried by the sea, or the river’s tide, is so nourishing emotionally, spiritually and physically. It is from within these moments that a lot of these songs were written.
Songwriting is my poetic approach to life’s situations; it often brings me insight, relief or understanding and through it I find honesty with myself.”
In true nomadic style, Carrie has spent her entire adult life travelling the world with her music, stirring and softening hearts along the way. With an uncanny ability to reach into the traditions of the lands she visits, she touches a place deep inside the hearts of her listeners wherever she performs.
Carrie has been a known name in the UK’s alternative scene for several years, has toured in many places in Europe, and has played regularly at UK festivals such as Glastonbury, Secret Garden and Cambridge Folk Festival. She has collaborated live and in the studio with the likes of Damien Rice, Fink, Albert Mazibuko (Ladysmith Black Mambazo), Carly Simon, Rumer, Martha Tilston and Andy Barlow of Lamb.
“There’s a disarmed gentleness to her second album, incorporating the elegant meandering of Jeff Buckley and the more esoteric aspects of John Martyn and Damien Rice”
“Even as she moves from sparse and delicate delivery to complex soundscape, she herself remains the focus of attention. It will be interesting to see how she develops – there is something quietly unforgettable here”
“It’s worth giving this your proper, undivided attention. It’s not the devil you’ll find in the details, but a real slice of the divine”
FOLK RADIO UK