As fiddle player for the Avett Brothers, Grammy-winning founder of The Duhks, and go-to collaborator for artists like Mary Gauthier, Tania Elizabeth has spent two decades shaping the arc of modern-day roots music. She refocuses the spotlight on her own music with Storm Season, a solo album whose sonic textures are as dynamic and diverse as the songwriter who created them. “I’ve always backed other people,” she says. “I’m really good at supporting other musicians and holding down the fort so they can shine, but I’ve rarely had anybody else hold that space for me. With Storm Season, I’m investing in myself for the first time.”
A longtime road warrior, Tania began recording Storm Season during the global pandemic that brought her touring schedule to a standstill. It was a rare time of rest for someone who’d been performing since the age of 9. Raised in a single-parent household, Tania moved from Australia to Canada during her early childhood and began busking on the streets of Vancouver Island while still in grade school.
“We didn’t have much money, so I busked quite a bit in order to pay for my own violin lessons,” she remembers. Although initially trained in the Suzuki method, she quickly took a broader approach to her instrument, laying the groundwork for the wide-ranging sounds that she would eventually explore with her solo work.” I took two lessons a week: a fiddle lesson and a classical violin lesson,” she explains. “People usually choose one approach or the other, but they really
do complement one another. The classical perspective teaches you to read music and understand theory, and fiddle teaches you to learn by ear and feel free to make changes. Studying classical music gives you the techniques to stay true to what the composer is intending, whereas fiddle helps you feel untethered.”
Untethered, indeed. By 15 years old, Tania had launched her own record label and completed her first solo album: Something, a self-financed collection of instrumental songs funded by her busking profits. By 16, she had left school, completed a cross-country Canadian tour in partnership with Save The Children (a humanitarian organization dedicating to supporting victims of child trafficking), and recorded her second album, This Side Up. By the time she turned 18, she’d already performed her songs in venues across Australia and China.
Looking for new horizons, Tania co-founded The Duhks, a genre-jumping roots band whose debut album appeared in 2003. The Duhks quickly became one of Canada’s most decorated folk acts, earning a Grammy nomination and a Juno Award during Tania’s tenure. She left the group’s lineup in 2010 and began performing with the celebrated folksinger Mary Gauthier. By 2013, she’d also earned a permanent spot in the Avett Brothers’ touring lineup, contributing
heavily to Grammy-nominated releases like True Sadness along the way.
Storm Season is far more than a showcase for the multi-instrumentalist chops that Tania continues to display with the Avetts, though. It highlights the full spread of her musical abilities: the crystalline vocals that float through songs like “House of the Hurricane” and “Money in the Wind” like warm weather; the sharp songwriting that combines personal insight with universal sentiment; the warm, organic production that makes room for fingerpicked guitars, brushed
percussion, Tania’s swooning string arrangements, and cameos from her long history of collaborators. Scott and Seth Avett contribute to two songs — the instrumental track “Hallie Crawford’s Reel” and the elegiac, harmony-heavy “Money in the Wind” — while Sarah Dugas, Tania’s bandmate from The Duhks, appears on the folk-pop highlight “New York City Sundance” (of four songs written by Dan Frechette). Tania claims sole writing credit on the album’s six
remaining tracks and doubles as the album’s co-producer, sharing that role with Dominic John Davis.
Tania began recording Storm Season with bassist Paul Defiglia and drummer Dom Billet, tracking a handful of songs at Nashville’s Blackbird Studios — where pedal steel legend Steve Fishell joined the group — before finishing the rest in Defiglia’s own Daylight Studios.
“We mainly worked together as a trio, and then I sent the recordings to other musicians because we were still in the midst of the pandemic,” she remembers. Overdubs soon arrived from friends in New York, Canada, and Los Angeles. Tania then brought in Dana Nielsen, Rick Rubin’s Grammy-
nominated right-hand man, to mix the finished songs. The process was collaborative and cathartic, bringing people together — sometimes virtually, sometimes physically — during a time of separation.
On a record stacked with appearances by roots-music luminaries, though, it’s Tania Elizabeth’s star that shines the brightest. She writes honestly and poignantly about the bad weather in her life, ultimately finding comfort in her own resilience. Heartbreak, resolve, struggle, and vigilance are common themes, with tracks like “What You Need” unfolding like wake-up-calls for those
who have yet to prepare for incoming storms.
Storm Season also soothes, though, balancing its own urgency with the comforting salve of Tania’s voice and the rootsy sweep of her multi-layered arrangements. This is music that targets the heart as well as the head. It’s the latest chapter in a life story that’s still being written. It’s the sound of a lifelong musician who’s making a return to centerstage, armed with the most
compelling music of her career.
·Grammy Award Nomination, Best American Roots Performance (The Avett Brothers, Ain’t No Man, 2017)
·Grammy Award Nomination, Best Americana Album (The Avett Brothers, True Sadness, 2017)
·Grammy Award Nominee, Best Country Song with Vocals by a Group or Duo (The Duhks, Heaven’s My Home, Migrations, Sugarhill Records 2007)
·Grammy Award, Best Traditional Folk Album (Various Artists, Beautiful Dreamer, The Songs of Stephen Foster, American Roots Publishing, 2004)
·Juno Award, Roots & Traditional Album of the Year (The Duhks, The Duhks, 2006)
·Juno Award Nominee, Roots & Traditional Album of the Year (The Duhks, Fast Paced World, Sugarhill Records, 2009)
·Juno Award Nominee, Roots & Traditional Album of the Year (The Duhks, Migrations, Sugarhill Records, 2007)
·Juno Award Nominee, Roots & Traditional Album of the Year (The Duhks, Your Daughters And Your Sons, Independent, 2003)
·Folk Alliance Award, Emerging Artist of the Year & Band of the Year (2006)
·Western Canadian Music Award, Outstanding Roots Recording (2005)
·Americana Music Awards, Emerging Artist of the Year (2005)
· Youth Classical Chamber Ensemble, Competed at the provincial level in the BC Festival of the Arts, in Prince George, BC (1999)
· Best Senior Fiddle, BC Festival of the Arts, Victoria (1998)
· Youth Fiddle Award, Kamloops Annual Fiddle Contest (1997)
·Youth Leader of the Year, CFAX 1070 Community Awards (1999)
This Side Up, Tania Elizabeth, Independent (1999) (Just Plain Folks Music Award, Best Celtic Album (2001)
Management – Alaina Thetford, Traincase Management, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bookings – Ryan Slone, Bonfire Music Group, email@example.com