Anna Tivel Turns Roadside Trash Into a Resolute Reminder of Her Dreams on “The Dial”

Her forthcoming album Outsiders is out August 19.
First Listen

Anna Tivel Turns Roadside Trash Into a Resolute Reminder of Her Dreams on “The Dial”

Her forthcoming album Outsiders is out August 19.

Words: Margaret Farrell

Photo: Vincent Bancheri

August 02, 2022

"The Dial," the latest single from Portland songwriter Anna Tivel, is a boot-stomping reminder that somebody's curbside trash is another's inspirational treasure. Alongside rubbery, reverb-effected guitar and shuffling percussion, Tivel sings about going backward. That sentiment extends to feeling down on her luck and retreating to the side of the road only to find a token of good fortune.

"I was at the tail end of a long tour, just feeling kind of raw and doubtful," she recalls, detailing a long trip from Utah to Colorado. "A car in front of me threw some trash out the window and when I got closer it turned out one of the items was a little dreamcatcher." She adds, "It made me feel like throwing up my hands and laughing. Driving all over the place playing songs about my feelings for strangers is serious business to me, a deep devotion and a privilege. And it’s also sometimes totally nuts, like some hilarious simulation where you keep finding yourself peeing through a funnel drilled in the floor of a shitty van outside the place where you just poured your heart out in front of three drunk people who kept asking the bartender to turn the TV back on. I’m glad both things exist, the expansive and the humbling, and I’ll never toss my dreamcatcher."

Tivel also explains the elegant footage featured in the single's accompanying visual. "I stumbled on this footage of Twyla Tharp and her amazingly joyful and absurd piece 'Sue's Leg,' and instantly felt understood," she says. "There's just something about these herky, wonderful movements that feel exactly like the world—chaotic and intoxicating, emotional and humorous and confusing as hell. Eric Loeffler at Mama Bird Recording Co. knew just how to edit the video to fit the song, and I'm just so happy this dance existed on tape in the public archives."

That small trinket tossed aside wasn't only a glimmer of cosmic hope, but inspired Tivel to write "The Dial" on the back of a gas station receipt. The Southern rock song with an industrial, alt-rock tinge nods to her roadside treasure and the beaten path she was headed on: "A warpath worn into a soft white cloud / A dreamcatcher lying on the roadside shoulder." Tivel's voice is resolute over trudging, dusty percussive rattles. Although "The Dial" opens with Tivel's theory that life is pulling her back, her tenacity with touring and creative vulnerability awakened the realization that life will toss back a reminder to keep moving forward.

Watch the video for "The Dial" below, and pre-order Outsiders, which is out August 19 via Mama Bird Recording Co., here. You can also find Tivel's upcoming tour dates listed beneath the video.

July 27 - The Olympic Venue - Boise, ID
July 28 - Sawtooth Valley Gathering - Stanley, ID
July 29 - Live From The Divide - Bozeman, MT
July 30 - Lucky You Lounge - Spokane, WA
July 31 - Heartwood Center - Sandpoint, ID
Aug 2 - Asylum for Art - Calgary, AB
Aug 3 - The Red Hart - Red Deer, AB
Aug 4 - Edmonton Folk Festival - Edmonton, AB
Aug 9 - Skyhouse Sessions - Kelowna, BC
Aug 10 - The Wise - Vancouver, BC
Aug 11 - Miller's - Carnation, WA
Aug 15 - Himlavalvet - Stockholm, SE
Aug 16 - Ettans Pub - Mariehamn, FI
Aug 18 - Kulturkvarteret - Örebro, SE
Aug 19 - Rootsy Summer Fest - Falkenberg, SE
Aug 20 - Österlän Americana Festival - Löderup, SE
Aug 21 - The Never-Ending Mind-Expanding Coconut Experience Musikkfestival - Halden, NO
Aug 25 - Tønder Festival - Tønder, DK
Aug 26 - Greenbelt Festival - Kettering, UK
Aug 30 - Gullivers - Manchester, UK*
Sept 1 - The Wight Bear - Bournemouth, UK*
Sept 2 - St. Matthias Church - London, UK*
Sept 4 - Luxor Live - Arnhem, NL*
Sept 5 - Muziekgebouw Eindhoven - Eindhoven, NL*
Oct 6 - The Basement - Nashville, TN^
Oct 8 - Isis Music Hall - Asheville, NC^
Oct 9 - The Evening Muse - Charlotte, NC^
Oct 11 - The Pinhook - Durham, NC^
Oct 12 - Bourgie Nights - Wilmington, NC^
Oct 13 - Blue Jay Listening Room - Jacksonville, FL^
Oct 14 - Eddie’s Attic - Decatur, GA^
Oct 15 - Hernando’s Hideaway - Memphis, TN^
Oct 20 - Mississippi Studios - Portland, OR+
Oct 21 - Ballard Homestead -  Seattle, WA+
Nov 3 - Icehouse - Minneapolis, MN~
Nov 4 - The Bur Oak - Madison, WI~
Nov 5 - Cafe Carpe - Fort Atkinson, WI~
Nov 6 - Golden Dagger - Chicago, IL~
Nov 7 - Three Three Five - Green Bay, WI~
Nov 8 - The Back Room @ Colectivo - Milwaukee, WI~
Nov 9 - The Robin Theatre - Lansing, MI~
Nov 10 - 20 Front Street - Lake Orion, MI~
Nov 13 - xBk Live - Des Moines, IA~

*appearing with Jeffrey Martin
^with special guest Lou Hazel
+with special guest Kassi Valazza
~with special guest Christopher Porterfield