Wind River From Folk Era (WR4019)
By David Schultz
Cosy Sheridan takes an interesting perspective on life. Drawing her inspiration from real life, her songs show a predilection for poking fun at life and finding a different way of viewing the same relationships. Her sixth album, Anthymn, is more of the same songwriting we've come to adore about Cosy.
Sheridan's funny songs rank up there with the best that Christine Lavin has written. It's not unusual that Sheridan has several funny songs on the album, but what is unusual is that she opens her album with two of them. This album also has a greater percentage of funny songs than any of her previous albums: five (or six, depending on how you want to count Bikini on a Billboard) funny songs out of 12 total on Anthymn. Sheridan spears SUVs, Barbie, PMS, body piercings, and trips to the women's bathroom.
Sheridan picks up where she left off on her album Quietly Led with A Losing Game on her new songs Bikini on a Billboard and Barbie. Bikini on a Billboard portrays the objectification of women in advertising: "She's only 15 on the cover of a magazine. It's open season on the young and the lean. Come get what she's got while it's young and it's hot. How come little girls disappear out of parking lots?" Barbie imagines what it might be like if Barbie was a real woman, as someone who couldn't stand on her own two feet (literally).
Sheridan also revisits a 1991 song on her Late Bloomer tape. Following up on her previous songs addressing women's health issues (e.g., Turboyeast from Saturn Return), she delivers PMS: "It's a Fallopian foul-up made me the monster I am. It's a cervical situation, a tubal traffic jam." The final funny song is Urban Assault Vehicle, which sounds a lot like Karen Savoca and Pete Heitzman. Sheridan is accompanied by only Kent Allyn's body percussion and his funky bass playing.
On the more serious side, Demeter's Lost Daughter has one of the best guitar riffs of the year. The song has an infectious, driving beat. It's a statement of being your own person, despite the rest of the world working against you.
Oren's Song (Have Mercy We All Grow Old) is dedicated to her neighbor Oren Moore. Despite having family in town who could visit him, Owen spends a lonely existence. Sheridan's song is a call to action. Love is Thicker Than Water is about her strained relationship with her brother and her attemtps to repair it. It contains the very poignant line, "Family is the one you keep on loving when it would be easier to love someone else."
Whether being humorous or very personal, Sheridan's songwriting is some of the best in contemporary folk. If you are not familiar with her music, Anthymn is an excellent introduction. Those who have her CDs will find Anthymn fitting comfortably right beside the rest of Sheridan's CD in your collection.