Cosy Sheridan is one of our greatest musical chameleons. Like Cheryl Wheeler, she can write and perform a song with such artistic skill and pure fun that she makes our sides hurt with laughter. On the other hand, she can write a ballad so beautiful that it brings tears to our eyes. It is not easy to do both and keep us engaged and entertained at the same time. And, she has been doing just this throughout her twenty years on the acoustic stage, with ten recordings behind her.
This tenth CD is brought to us by Waterbug Records, one of the finest independent music labels in the business, where she joins such label-mates as Annie Gallup, Anais Mitchell, Bob Franke and Gordon Bok. It's a perfect fit for Cosy and her music.
The recording opens with a biting critique of the current downward spiral of the economic market. In Cosy's view, we need a woman of a certain age to guide our pension, "we need a hand on the nozzle, someone menopausal/would know how to Take away the toys." This one is called, of course, Higher Financial Reform.
The Horse King is one Cosy's loveliest ballads and the centerpiece of this collection of songs. It plays like a fable of old—telling the story of a noble horse in its prime leading the way for all of the other horses. One day he is challenged by a group of young stallions. He is pushed and falls. He becomes old; his time has come. Cosy's honeyed alto is particularly beautiful here, as is the finger picking on acoustic guitar. It is a simple song in many ways, but a deep and touching one, too. I am reminded of some of the classic traditional folk songs. This tune is written in that style, and I have a feeling that it may become a classic.
Icarus is another beauty. It retells the Greek myth of Icarus, who attempted to flee his island prison on wings made of wax and feather, only to fly too close to the sun and fall into the sea. In Cosy's version, Icarus flies into the light:
Icarus comes to the end of his flight
Cosy is joined by Penny Nichols on stunning harmony vocals. Kent Allyn accompanies them on electric guitar, lifting the production and helping it soar.
The recording closes with Belinda Bowler's tune, Be Outside, the only cover in this collection. It's a happy and upbeat song that is made even better yet by David Surette on mandolin.
It is always a pleasure to listen to the music of Cosy Sheridan. The Horse King adds several new outstanding songs to her body of work, with the title tune standing head and shoulders above the rest. If I were given the honor of putting together a concert of my favorite performing artists, Cosy Sheridan would be among that group. Just listening to her sing always makes me feel good and lifts my spirits. If you do not know her work, you will love her, too. May there be another ten recordings following this one!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society and Roberta B. Schwartz.
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