It seems that whenever Sofia Talvik is the topic of conversation or print, the focus is immediately on her being Swedish and that she generally performs her original songs in an Americana-like style.
And, while this may all be true, it is all secondary to something that is far, far more important in understanding Ms. Talvik. Sofia Talvik is among the likes of Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Allison Krauss, Linda Ronstadt, et al., in that her greatest instrument is her voice. That is where the conversations should begin and end.
See for yourself as Ms. Talvik presents an evening of her style of singer/songwriter folk Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. at Great Pacific Wine & Coffee Co., 403 S. Main St., Pendleton. There is no cover charge for the all-ages show.
Ms. Talvik has steadily released her original take on Americana since her 2005 debut, “Blue Moon.” Each release has witnessed a consistent evolution of style and substance.
The 10 originals and one cover that make up 2015’s “Big Sky Country” prove that she has become an effective storyteller as well as singer. Her 10 tales of wonder and woe, each significant on their own, collectively make a solid album that rewards repeated listening.
It would be hard to defend this as an Americana album. Sure there are banjos, dobros and pedal steels but there is just as often merely a lightly strummed guitar or muted keyboards. Really, the only constant is, well — that voice, man!
The selection of cover choices made by performers often says more about them than their own songs. This one sounds like nothing else on the album.
In 1992, Buffy Sainte-Marie released a criminally ignored album of righteous indignation titled “Coincidence and Likely Stories.” One of the standouts of that release was “Starwalker,” an indigenous call-to-arms, punk-like in its fierce presentation. Talvik smooths some of the edges but leaves the message firmly intact. Great, great take on a great song.
Check out Talvik’s performance during her “5000 Mile Tour.” Regardless of the genre, Sofia Talvik’s mesmerizing voice is really all that she’ll need to entertain.
A retired educator, Johnny Vinyl spends his days with Lucifer, an 8-year-old German shepherd, reading and riding the vibe. His column, Ride the vibe, focuses on entertainment. Contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org