Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: Sera Cahoone "Deer Creek Canyon"

Sera Cahoone is a Seattle-based singer-songwriter. She has named her very fine third record after the area where she grew up in Colorado. And Deer Creek Canyon is filled with images of searching, belonging, longing, and finding that sense of connection.
More than anything, what strikes me about this record is its intimacy. Cahoone draws you right in, makes you feel like she is speaking directly to you. Both the writing and the singing are exquisite. The overall sound is relatively sparse - acoustic guitar, banjo, drums, some bass, all of it well played and performed, with nothing getting in the way of the vocals.  Every song is a good one.

The title track:

Here's an official video for the song "Naked":

Deer Creek Canyon itself is a rich environment, dominated by scrub oak habitat, and once mining country, now connected to the suburbs of Denver, nor far from Columbine High School. No doubt a place that must have changed a great deal in Cahoone's lifetime, and far more so in her parents'. The sort of place that summons a great deal of your emotions, perhaps all the more so when you live 1,300 miles away in a large city in the Pacific Northwest.

I had not heard Sera Cahoone before, though she was a member of Band of Horses. On a quick check back to her prior solo records, Deer Creek Canyon sounds like a step up. There's a confidence to this record that elevates Cahoone to the company of some top flight Americana artists - Aimee Mann, Cat Power, Gillian Welch. If you appreciate Americana music, you are likely to be like me, very drawn to these songs and the sound of Cahoone's voice.  

Deer Creek Canyon is highly recommended, one of the year's best releases.

Artist web page: See especially the tour dates in the month of November in the Western US, with opening band the Parson Red Heads, a favorite here at WYMA blog.

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