Album, Single and EP Reviews


  Small Believer by Anna Tivel

Small Believer cover art

Artist: Anna Tivel
Title: Small Believer
Catalogue Number: Fluff and Gravy Records
Review Format: Download
Release Year: 2017

If only all Americana were as good as this but that is, unfortunately, not the case so all aspiring singer songwriters eager to exorcise the ghost of someone else’s past should take notice of Anna Tivel’s album “Small Believer” as it is as fine an example of the art of literate and affecting song writing as I have heard in quite some time.

Her songs – or rather tales of blue collar romanticism – are curiously fragile things that enchant more than grab your attention with subtlety and elegance replacing the faux sentimentality and crude political broadsides that are characteristic of the genre. Listen carefully, for she deserves nothing less, and the poetry soon becomes obvious as Anna Tivel seems to see inside the words to find their true purpose and therefore gives them their rightful place within a song. This is a far from common ability and to find it used so convincingly across the whole length of an album is, and I can think of no more accurate description, remarkable.

She has the intelligence to make the best use of the simplest words. She doesn’t overdose on syllables or, surprisingly, sentiment yet adds notable emotional substance to her tales of everyday life in a world without a fast lane. The beauty in her words captures more than your ears and it inevitable that your heart will be hers to command forever.

There are times when I believe that dreams have become a thing of the past and there will never be another song that resonates within me again. Not now. I could, quite legitimately, have chosen any song on this album but “Saturday Night” and “Blue World” were simply magical. Or was it “Last Cigarette” and “Ordinary Dance”? You get the picture by now. Anna Tivel is something so right and “Small Believer” is an album to be treasured by anyone who still has a heart.

Available from Bandcamp.

Review Date: September 15, 2017