Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson
Terra Spencer describes herself eloquently on her 2019 debut Other People’s Lives, notably on the song “Other People’s Wives”, where among her confessions, the Nova Scotia singer songwriter claims she’s not educated on the names of garden flowers, that she doesn’t make good coffee and importantly, she works out in the cold burying the dead for a living. On Chasing Rabbits, the funeral director turned songwriter continues to reveal aspects of her life, with Joni-like candour. “In the City” is a good starting place to pick up the story, where Terra reflects on her childhood, her college days, boyfriends and the trouble they bring, the natural world around her (albeit still demonstrating some difficulty with the names of trees), all accompanied by lavish orchestration courtesy of the Bela String Quartet and a piano motive evoking snowfall.
“In the City” is Carole King, Carly Simon, Ann Murray, Helen Reddy and Joni Mitchell all rolled into one. It’s over six minutes long but feels like three. “Lunenburg Moon” is treated to some fine vocal harmonies by fellow Canadians Luke Fraser and Sarah Frank, otherwise The Bombadils, who between them create a gentle bluegrass feel reminiscent of some of Alison Krauss’ early work. “Training Day” turns to a rich gospel feel, which deserves the double count in and minor chords in all the right places. From some recess of Terra’s mind, the name of the “Manitoba Maple” pops up midway through the album, with a tender ode to the tree, a metaphor for family, home and the passing of time, complete with a sumptuous brass section. Chasing Rabbits is a rich and often uplifting collection of songs to remember.