Music Discovery: The War And Treaty Personify Soul And Hope On Healing Tide
The War And Treaty are a musical hybrid. Eschewing gospel, blues, R&B, country, and soul influences, the duo have just released their first full length, Healing Tide. The group, comprised of the married couple Michael and Tonya Trotter, have one of the most exciting Americana albums this year.
Tanya, a Washington, D.C.-based singer most of her life, made a name for herself in the mid-90s with duets with Lauryn Hill and Toni Braxton. Michael, who was raised in Cleveland, spent his youth in homeless shelters before enlisting in the Army in 2003. He was sent to Iraq soon after, where a captain encouraged him to pursue music. That captain was killed, and Michael began writing music seriously for the first time. He was soon tasked with writing songs for recently fallen soldiers.
When Michael returned home, the two met at a music festival. “I threw her number away because I had a lot of insecurities that I still have,” Michael said in a release. “I thought, ‘Who would want to be with a guy who went to war?’”
Healing Tide is influenced by these experiences. The mood is uplifting, layered with funky bass lines, steel guitar, and Southern-like soul. “I hope people see our hearts on this record,” Michael said in the release. “I want them to experience freedom. To feel again.”
What If I Told You?
You can hear that hope in the “Healing Tide”, the first single off of the album.
“What if I told you, you would be the one to bring ’round peace”, the duo sing, over whirling organ and funky bass.
Reinforcing their American pedigree, Healing Tide features Emmylou Harris on “Here Is Where The Loving Is At”. Highlighted by Harris’s vocals, the song takes on a gothic texture, with fiddle, harmonica, and banjo. Like many songs from The War And Treaty, “Here” owes as much to old spirituals as to country and soul music.
Many bands sing inspirationally about seeing the light; few can do so with the experience of having been darkened by life, reemerging together in unison, redemption songs in hand.