‘The Canoe’ is the third album by Brighton based singer-songwriter Carrie Tree and with production and arrangements being handled by Markus Sieber (know for his ambient recordings as Aukai), you could predict with a high degree of certainty that this would be an album that is in an ambient folk vein. The pair worked remotely across a six month period, with Markus based in Colorado and Mexico, and Carrie in London and Sussex, they finally met ‘halfway’ in the spring of 2018 to complete the record in Greenhouse Studios, Iceland.
The album opens with ‘Sweet Illusions’, a melodic song that is carried along by a sparse, piano-anchored production which allows Carrie’s light delicate voice to take centre stage and this airy gentle feel continues through the rest of the album. There is certainly an interesting array of somewhat unusual instruments used throughout with the West African ngoni, the southern Mexican jarana as well as sitar and harmonium all making an appearance and adding to the ambient feel that is central to the music.
The album title reflects the symbolic and metaphorical signiﬁcance of canoes and journeys taken on water with the central themes of birth, death, water, home and travel running through all the songs and the ‘The Canoe’ is an apt title for what represents a view of the meandering nature of the journey through life.
In Carrie’s own words the shell pendant used as the front cover image is also a type of vessel and is clearly very personal to her. “It was given to me by one of my dearest friends, who took their own life a few years ago. This is an object that links us together through the river of life and death.”
This is a highly reflective mood album which won’t get your feet tapping or entice you to sing along and that’s not what it set out to do, but if you are looking for an album that harks back to slower and simpler times and causes you to pause and reflect on life, then this may well be an album that fits the bill.