Going Through With It
Science fiction writer Philip K. Dick wrote in the introduction to The Golden Man, a collection of his stories, "[Y]our crisis or ordeal. . .is not something that's going to be endless and I want you to know that you will probably survive it with your courage and wits and sheer drive to live."
Had he lived another twenty-five years, he might have been saying the same thing about the songs on Soul Catcher, the debut release from Teneia Sanders.
With its sparse instrumentation on nearly all of the tracks (just acoustic guitar, sometimes a bass or some percussion and a voice that ranges between pretty flutters and sexy groans), Sanders captures all the puzzlement, anger, pain, sadness we feel when things just go wrong in life with relationships or any situation where we have to make ourselves open and vulnerable. But she doesn't do it with grunge-act angst or try to solve it with talk-show hostess platitudes. In Soul Catcher, the songs Sanders sings are more philosophical, even whimsical.
For instance, in "Delightful," she sings, "When you are lonely, love seems like the coolest thing around." Then in "Play and Stop" she explores the comfortable choices we make for ourselves in our hearts but don't clearly reveal to others when she sings, "But no one knows of the road we chose / It's tidy here, we laugh along."
But halfway through Catcher, Sanders surprises us with a blast of full-band pop with "Charcoal," and she dips a toe into rap and a turntable-scratch, drum-machine soul vibe with "Watchin'," an exploration of mistrust and our subconscious flirtation with exhibiting the things that make other mistrust us.
The work is produced by Slackshop's Billy Bartley, whose musical intuition finds the subtleties of a song and enhances them. She also gets help from some of Louisville's best musicians such as Patrick Donley, Mark Stampley, Leigh Ann Yost, Adam Wheeler, Anthony Ransom and a scattering of others.
"So live through it," Dick continued in his introduction to The Golden Man, "... go all the way to the end. Only then can it be understood. Not along the way." By the time Soul Catcher has finished, Teneia Sanders probably hasn't produced any kind of great understanding of All The Stuff That Bugs Us (who can, for that matter), nor does she provided the ultimate cure. But she has captured an even dozen of them so we can listen to someone's experiences of those things. And learn from her.
And eventually, we can understand.
Catch more of Sanders at www.teneiasanders.com.