Tia McGraff and Tommy Parham.
ALTON — Canadian folk artist Tia McGraff will be spreading the love this Valentine’s Day to one of her favorite cities in which to perform.
“Tommy and I love performing at the beautiful Jacoby Center, and the memories we share with our friends, fans and family are just too amazing for words,” she said.
McGraff will appear alongside her husband and musical partner, Tommy Parham, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14, at Jacoby Arts Center, 627 East Broadway. She currently is touring to promote her newest release, “Crazy Beautiful,” through Bandana Records.
The CD is inspired by Canadian gold medalist skier Sarah Burke, who lobbied to have superpipe skiing added to the Olympic program and was killed in a training accident in 2012.
“The title track, ‘Crazy Beautiful,’ was the first track written and yet we hadn’t planned on including it on this album,” McGraff said. “However, at one point it was all starting to fit together like a puzzle, and the overall message of the CD was leaning toward stepping out on the edge and following your dreams.”
Powered by the first single, an upbeat yet haunting tune entitled “Baby’s Got a Banjo,” the newest offering by the singer-songwriter highlights McGraff’s raspy, sultry vocals and hook-infected musicianship.
Produced by Parham, the eclectic mix of country, gospel, pop and folk tunes were recorded in Nashville, Tenn., Austin, Texas, and Ontario, Canada.
Married both onstage and off, McGraff and Parham agree their individual talents blended perfectly, creating a new entity.
“Together, Tommy and I have created a unique sound,” McGraff said. “We say we really can’t do without each other; we each bring our own thing to the table and it creates something altogether different.”
The Canadian songstress and L.A.-based musician met in Nashville in 1999.
“I had released a couple of CDs, and had some videos played on CMT, but I decided I wanted to take a break from performing and focus on my songwriting,” McGraff said. “I met Tommy through his publisher, who said he thought we should write together.”
While it is difficult to pigeonhole the music, what is clear is the way it moves fans.
“I get compared to Gordon Lightfoot, and when you are talking about people from Canada, that is a huge compliment and very flattering,” McGraff said. “When you listen to a lot of today’s pop, it’s very acoustic-based and folksy. I think everything comes full circle.”
For this latest tour, the group is seeing a strong fan base turnout and interest that continues to cross national and musical genre borders alike.
“2015 was an interesting year,” McGraff said. “We released ‘Crazy Beautiful,’ and the next week we were performing to sold-out shows in the U.K. Radio in the states and Canada supported us, but we owe the highlights to our fans; they showed us we are reaching them with our songs and making a difference in their lives.
“Oh yeah, and the first-round Grammy nomination for Americana Album of the Year was pretty darn cool, too.”
Parham, who originally hails from Vandalia, Ill., has family in the Alton area, and the couple is looking forward to performing in the Riverbend for the first time since 2014.
“We are excited about sharing Valentine’s Day with everyone and look forward to a sold-out crowd,” McGraff said.
Tickets for the concert are $10 and available for purchase at jacobyartscenter.org. For more information, call (618) 462-5222. For information on Tia McGraff, visit www.tiamcgraff.com.
Check out the new single, “Baby’s Got a Banjo,” and other offerings from the new release at www.tiamcgraff.com/videos.