Tucson singer-songwriter Katie Haverly and her band The Aviary played the Che’s Lounge patio last Sunday night, treating listeners to pleasant reverie. The group performed two sets of mostly Haverly’s songs, including new tunes from their upcoming album, and a pair of covers; Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote” and The Police’s “Synchronicity.”
Haverly dove into “Natural Disaster” early in the set. (It’s from her ’15 album, Aviary). Her soulful voice functioned as a conduit for the song’s raw emotion. Ace guitarist Ben Nisbet went off menu, reshaping the parts, while nimble-fingered bassist Chris Pierce and trapsman Tom Beech furrowed deep backbeats. The mournful song expanded into a sweet jam.
The quartet left a sonic debris trail with uptempo rocker “Something.” “[Something] is going to be the first music video off our new album,” Haverly said. On the downtempo “New York” (another new one) Haverly ruminated on her life there, ghosts she’d left behind.
“Mess” was downright transformative. The heartrending, country-tinged beauty draws inspiration from a series of works by artist Manfred Bockelmann: Drawing Against Oblivion
, a requiem to children murdered by Nazis. A lone couple rose to dance.
Veiled in metaphor, with its sophisticated jazz chords, the electric piano-driven “Pluto,” details our current political climate from Haverly’s songwriterly vantage. “Do you want to know a secret?” She says. “Pluto is metaphor for Donald Trump. Pluto is the furthest planet from the sun, in its own orbit.” Yet, Pluto has the power to wreak havoc should it break the order within our solar system.
As the set drew to a close, Haverly returned to the stage for an encore. Taking seat at the piano for the beautiful “Better,” the final sneak peek from her upcoming record. She introduced it: “I wrote this song when I was at the lowest point that I’ve been in years.”
When my mind can’t seem to rest/When my better is not my best/When the world feels dense, like it’s closing in/When my better's not my best
I think of you …