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Alight, so Tanya Donelly is one of the few to have completed the indie rock grand slam. In tennis, it’s the Australian, the French, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and in music terms, it’s being in three undeniably great bands and then having a successful, critically acclaimed slo carer. Think about it—how many people can you name who have done this? Donelly was in Throwing Muses, the Breeders and the Grammy nominated Belly and her critically acclaimed solo career, bolstered by albums like
Love Songs For Underdogs is impossible to deny. The Rhode Island-born musician is not only a magnetic figure, with tons of onstage charisma, she’s a brilliant and evocative lyricist, whose work is a dreamy blend of Anne Sexton, Wallace Stevens and Leonard Cohen. Heavily imagistic and loaded with mysterious symbols that shimmer and fade and turn to gold then dissolve in the dark and rise again as stars with colors you’ve never seen before, Donelly’s work really sticks with you. There are shipwrecks, and moonbeams and rain and weird lights and dogs with seek through skin—you know, the kind of skin you can see through. The fact is, Tanay Donnelly is a fascinating and brilliant writer as well as being a fascinating and brilliant singer. Her vocal gymnastics are subtle, powerful and deeply arresting. She’s a mysterious and captivating artist and on her new album along with the Tarkington Sisters, Donelly covers some of her favorite tracks by The Go-Go’s, Leonard Cohen, Kirsty MacColl, Split Enz, Linda Ronstadt, The Pretenders, Wings and Mary Margaret O’Hara. In this chat, Donelly talks to Alex about being an introvert, her love of Echo and the Bunnymen and how long it took her to feel comfortable onstage. She also talks about how a clean house is perfect for writing, being creative in the time of Covid and why Elvis Perkins knocks her out….