Truth About Daisies is the Portland-based trio of singer, acoustic guitarist and harmonica player Sheila McKinley; her husband, singer, mandolin, banjo, keys and electric and acoustic guitar player Doug Swift and bass player and backup vocalist Ronda Dale. Their first CD was released in 2007, and they’re back with “Love This Life.” The band’s been playing in and around southern Maine for about 14 years.
McKinley and Swift share songwriting duties and both walk on the sunny side of the street, while being fully aware of the other side. McKinley wrote 10 of the CD’s 15 songs, and Swift wrote the rest. The band posted a “back-story” video on its website that explains why the album is called “Love This Life” and what most of the songs are about.
“I think we have choices in our life in terms of how we deal with suffering, because we all suffer in our own ways. But we have choices in how we approach that suffering and how we embrace life, and, ultimately, I think it’s our job to love this life,” said Swift.
McKinley spoke about the title as well. “It really refers to just being in life with whatever is, whether it’s suffering or joy, because whatever it is, it passes. It all passes so you might as well just be with it, embrace it, be part of it.”
McKinley also explained that she ended up writing about struggles and the impulse to retreat when bad things are happening. “No matter what’s going on in the world, we can choose to just be crushed by the suffering or we can choose to love this life.” The title track is the sixth one on the album and during it, McKinley sings about gray clouds and howling winds, but also about rising above all of the hard stuff to find the good. Swift’s banjo carries the optimistic tune along with McKinley’s bright vocals. Maybe it’s because I enjoy the occasional Jameson, but “Whiskey” is my current favorite.
“Whiskey would tell me everything was alright like a soft falling rain on a hot summer night. But in the morning I might know how I got home, pounding head on the bed feeling alone.” Dale’s backing vocals are perfect as is Joe Muir’s guest lap steel. “Love This Life,” which was recored, mixed and mastered at The Studio in Portland by Steve Drown, is a breezy, mostly gentle album that’s easy to listen to. The songs are honest and hopeful, and, when they invite you to love this life, they really mean it. “Just remember what I said, that my heart is open and wide for you,” is a line from “Night Falls” and it captures what Truth About Daisies is all about. Hear the truth for yourself on Saturday night in Portland.
Watch the Truth About Daisies”Love this Life” backstory video
8 p.m. Saturday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland, $15 in advance, $18 day of show. onelongfellowsquare.com