Where the Grace Is
The duo My Tree consists of vocalist Caroline Davis and multi-instrumentalist Ben ‘Jamal’ Hoffmann. Davis is best known as a jazz saxophonist and flutist, but on My Tree’s latest recording, Where the Grace Is, she demonstrates an attractive voice comfortable in a hybrid blend of musical styles. These encompass funk and fusion from the seventies and more recent electronic pop. Hoffmann favors vintage gear, including analog synths and a Linn drum machine. He crafts intricate and memorable arrangements and demonstrates keen versatility.
Davis’s supple singing serves well the uplifting songs “One More Time,” “What a Joy,” and “Afterglow.” My Tree also addresses social issues in more challenging pieces. “Where the Grace Is” documents the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Rico Sisney is a guest MC on “Run and Rag On,” an energetic and socially conscious anthem repudiating the New Jim Crow. “Our Land Oh” is another track about a recent and regrettable event, the Pulse Nightclub shooting. One can sense the grief contained in Davis’s overdubbed delivery and Hoffmann plays a tense ostinato riff on Rhodes beside a weighty countermelody in the bass. “Liteshine” juxtaposes the power of the sun with the climate crisis.
My Tree reminds us that we needn’t forget hope and even joy in the midst of the adversity of recent days. Where the Grace Is — a balm for late summer blues.