When Louisiana-based band Givers emerged in 2011 with their ebullient debut album In Light, which found inspiration in everything from Cajun music and New Orleans jazz to Afrobeat, they quickly took the music world by storm. Even the notoriously curmudgeonly music legend Neil Young was a fan, saying the band "blew my mind."
And now, after four years and some soul-searching trips to the mountains of North Carolina and Wisconsin, Givers have broken their silence. The band's sophomore album, New Kingdom, adds a sleeker, darker edge to Givers' soulful, rhythm-forward sound. As the band heads out on the road, singer and multi-instrumentalist Tiffany Lamson spoke to The Week via email about discovering records by accident, the songs she warms up with, and the choruses that melt her heart. Below, six songs that "inspired [her] as a lady."
1. Bobbie Gentry, "I Saw an Angel Die"
"In my senior year of high school, my grandpa passed away. Before he did, he promised me all his vinyl... he was very supportive and encouraging of my journey in music. Ten years later, I finally received all those records he left for me. I spent quite a few evenings organizing them, while putting random ones on as I did so, I randomly put her Ode to Billy Joe on and probably reset the needle over 15 times when this song hit. I stopped and laid on the floor and let myself be taken away. It touched me... melted my heart by reminding me of his tenderness."
2. Samantha Sang, "Emotion"
"This song has captured me. I get so caught up in the dreaminess of it. The melodies are haunting while soothing, and the lyrics so relatable. We all can get so lost inside our emotional selves. The Gibb brothers [of the Bee Gees] are behind the songwriting and that's how I ended up hearing it. It became my go-to vocal warm-up song on tour and has become an all-time favorite arrangement of mine. The pre-chorus has that whispery yearning that I can't get enough of, as if you're swirling inside the deepest human secret that then spirals out into this blasting, poignant chorus of pure, unabashed honesty."
3. Rickie Lee Jones, "Matters"
"Her record Ghostyhead drastically changed my approach to songwriting. I found it a month after Hurricane Katrina when I truly needed some maternal musical guidance. The feelings on this record are so vast and greatly touch on many exposed nerves of my heart. It's difficult to choose just one track from it, but I always return to this one. The hypnotic beat along with Rickie's poetic delivery (of what seems to be the answers to some existential questions) constantly pulls me back to a place of wonder and self-reflection. The droning sounds and swirling samples free my mind when it gets cluttered."
4. Barbara Lynn, "Until Then, Ill Suffer"
"Her devotion to the desperate tone in this song kills me. You can feel her truth spill out of the smoky, forceful notes she hits effortlessly. It's incredible when a recording can fully capture an entire emotion in three minutes. It's so enthralling that by the end of the song you begin to believe you are having that same emotional experience yourself. She wrote a lot of her own material and played guitar (left handed!) on it as well, which was rare at that time."
5. Melanie, "Ring the Living Bell"
"Gather Me was very inspiring record to hear as a young singer. She has this strong, powerful female lead that resonated deeply with me. This song has such range. I particularly love the male back-up singers in the verses, they're so groovy and makes me feel as if I'm part of some choir that's pushing through the desert while riding on top a mammoth! There is a definition and confidence in her voice that draws me in."
6. Doris Day, "You Go To My Head"
"This dreamy track sounds like a fuzzy, rosy electric blanket has swallowed you up so tight that you've been put under a spell forever spinning you in slow motion... it's almost as if you've been hit by Cupid's arrow and may never wake up or know up from down. Somehow, that's strangely comforting."
New Kingdom is out now on Glassnote.
(This interview was condensed and edited by Samantha Rollins.)
Watch the video for "Bermuda" by Givers below:
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