Anna Tivel is a Portland, Oregon-based singer/songwriter with a flair for capturing intimate moments and crafting strong, narrative-driven Americana-tinged folk songs. After debuting in 2014, she earned increasing critical acclaim for releases like 2017′s Small Believer and 2019′s The Question. Tivel’s 2021 collection Blue World reimagined some of her earlier songs in a minimalist piano and percussion setting, after which she joined the Mama Bird roster and released 2022′s collaborative and deeply organic Outsiders, which featured all-new material.
Raised in rural northern Washington, Tivel comes from a musical family and grew up playing the violin. After a move to Portland, she began writing songs and developed an affinity for framing her poetic observations within gentle, often somber folk songs. She released her debut album, Before Machines, in 2014 on Portland-based Fluff & Gravy Records. After taking home honors at both the Telluride Troubadour Contest and the Kerrville Songwriting Contest, Tivel issued two more albums, Heroes Waking Up (2016) and Small Believer (2017), in quick succession, earning widespread praise for her delicate lyricism and intimate style of storytelling. She continued to earn new fans with 2019′s nuanced and atmospheric The Question, an album that paired her with engineer Brian Joseph (Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens) and producer/multi-instrumentalist Shane Leonard.
For her next project, Tivel collaborated with fellow Portland musicians Galen Clark (piano) and Micah Hummel (drums) to re-record sparse new arrangements of songs from her previous albums. The resulting release, Blue World, appeared in 2021. By this point, Tivel had already written the material for her next album, and she headed to Rock Island, Illinois, to reunite with the team of Joseph and Leonard, working with a small group of trusted musicians. They arranged the songs collaboratively and recorded quickly, emphasizing the spontaneous nature of the music. Outsiders arrived in August 2022 and was Tivel’s first release for the Mama Bird label. ~ James Christopher Monger