Gentle piano notes, with an echo of Michael Martin Murphy’s “Wildfire,” introduce Anna Tivel’s new single, rippling softly into shimmering a cappella vocals on the song’s first two lines. Galen Clark’s sparkling and cascading piano chords flow under Tivel’s resplendent vocals – ascend and descend almost note-for-note with the piano notes, creating a spaciousness that envelops us and that evokes the shadows and fog, light and dark of the world she is recreating in the song. The ethereal atmosphere of “Two Dark Horses” conveys the aching desire for liberation from the dark forces that sometimes hold us and others down and the glorious, transportive joy that accompanies our unbridled freedom. With such passionate warmth and crystalline purity, Tivel’s song lovingly wraps us in its heart-wrenching beauty and splendor.
Although “Two Dark Horses” appears on Tivel’s album Blue World, which comes out July 16, it will also appear on Outsiders, her album that’s forthcoming next year. As Tivel reflects on “Two Dark Horses”: “This song started as a poem on tour after seeing two horses shrouded in fog on an early morning drive. I was listening to the news and feeling so struck by the amount of humanity and animal rage that can exist simultaneously; trembling anger and deep empathy, hatred and faith, prejudice and love. The poem was an attempt to explore the weight of our animal selves, that flashing and instinctual fear that makes us small and blindly intolerant. And that distinctly human capacity to rise up out of fear, to learn and grow and change and get free.”