Po' Girl - Biography
By J Poet
Trish Klein started Po’ Girl as a side project when Frazey Ford of the Be Good Tanyas went on maternity leave. Klein, who plays banjo and guitar, was the musical backbone of the Be Good Tanyas. Klein grew up in Winnipeg and picked up guitar at an early age. She dropped out of school and hit the road at 14 to escape an abusive home situation. She met Samantha Parton in 1998 and became a founding member of Vancouver’s Be Good Tanyas. She’s played on all three Tanya albums: Blue Horse (2001 Nettwerk), Chinatown (2003 Nettwerk),and Hello Love (2006 Nettwerk).
When the Be Good Tanyas went took a break, Klein started playing with Allison Russell who was playing in the Celtic band Fear of Drinking. Something clicked and they became Po’ Girls and cut their debut Po’ Girls (2003 Jericho Canada, 2003 HighTone US.) The music was a mix of folk, blues, trad jazz and Americana, or maybe Canadiana, marked by inventive arrangements and the blissful harmonies of Klein and Russell. The songs are all about bad luck and trouble, but the duo finds the nugget of gold in every trash heap.
Po’ Girl toured relentlessly to support their debut and decided to add Diona Davies to help flesh out the live shows. Davies played fiddle, banjo, guitar, and sang. The band also hired a drummer and bass player. Vagabond Lullabies (2004 Nettwerk) was more expansive, but still down home and folky. Their lazy, swampy groove gave the tunes a Gothic feel that was more Louisiana than Vancouver and the harmonies produced heir familiar chills. Be Good Tanyas Frazey Ford and Sam Parton and Ani DiFranco add to the lush vocal background while hip hop poet C.R. Avery drops his rhymes into a few tracks to remind us it’s 2004 not 1864.
In 2006 Klein returned to the Be Good Tanyas between Po’ Girl gigs. The third Po’ Girl album, Home to You (2007 Nettwerk), included new member Awna Teixeira on guitar, harmonica, bass, washtub bass, and vocals. She also writes songs. Like previous albums, Home to You is full of plainspoken poetry, subtle but virtuosic playing and deep feeling. The songs deal with the varied notions of home; it’s comforts and the tribulations that keep us from feeling at home in the world. in 2009 they released Deer In The Night, followed by Follow Your Bliss in 2012.