"It's the most personal album I've ever written, and it is very daunting to put such a raw, exposed, vulnerable part of yourself out there," remarks Tami Neilson of her new album Don't Be Afraid. And it was nearly left unfinished. With two songs completed and six weeks left to write Tami unexpectedly lost her father, the patriarch of The Neilson Family band who Tami had toured across Canada with as a young girl opening for the likes of Johnny Cash. It was with her mother and brother's encouragement that she finished the record as a way of honoring her dad.
Recorded in Ben Edwards' New Zealand Sitting Room studio, the songs were recorded live, the musicians all in the room playing together. The album features Delaney Davidson and all the boys that were on predecessor Dynamite! including harmonies from Marlon Williams on the soon-to-be classic "Lonely." The album features a Tina Turner throwback, "Holy Moses," the swinging country of "Only Tears," a bluesy swagger in "So Far Away" and the southern soul of "Burn My Body." The album is bookended by the title track, including the haunting hidden demo track sung by Tami's father.
"There are a lot of reasons I chose Don't Be Afraid as the title, and one of them is that, musically, as an artist it's a departure for me. There are definite moments where I have had to go, 'Don't be afraid of this, this is who you are,- Neilson says. "This album is the guts of me. I guess 'departure' is the wrong word because it's all the same palette and same family, but whereas Dynamite! was a lot of light, bright colours, Don't Be Afraid is deeper, richer colours - still in that same family but a different level."