Shivering Timbers is made up of husband and wife duo Sarah and Jayson Benn, joined by Daniel Kshywonis on drums. And it wouldn’t be improper to call their five-year-old daughter Suzi Benn the fourth Timber. The band was formed when Sarah and Jayson started crafting songs for Suzi, and she occasionally joins the band on stage, plinking a toy piano. But regardless of the significance of young Suzi’s musical contributions, it’s clear that her spirit has been an influence.
Shivering Timbers’ songs are sometimes framed by an attempt to view the world with an innocent, childlike mind. These aren’t nursery rhymes for indie-rocker parents, however. They’re ethereal compositions sonically indebted to Wye Oak and PJ Harvey and built upon Sarah’s multi-faceted voice. And while the songs often strive for simplicity, they just as frequently shake the heavens.
Shivering Timbers’ debut record, “We All Started in the Same Place,” was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and contains beautifully misshapen blues and hand-clap melodies. Their sophomore release, “Sing, Sing,” was released in 2012 and draws from a wider palette, showing greater maturity and ambition. Impressionistic takes on traditional folks songs (“Wayfaring Stranger” and “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down”) sit beside intimate and textured ballads. And then there’s the album’s title track, which is a joyous roller coaster of sound. What started as a means to sharpen and expand on well-worn children’s songs has evolved into a head-first dive into the rabbit hole. And the Shivering Timbers are just getting started. – Chris Bay