Cosy Sheridan: Pretty Bird

Pretty Bird
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With clear poetic lyrics and mostly-acoustic arrangements based around Cosy’s impeccable guitar work, it doesn’t get better than this. Her guitar and vocal were recorded live, a rare thing in this world of overdubbed blandness, and cradled in simple arrangements that never make you feel like every song comes from a folk template where “guitar riff number 34” always appears after the chorus. In fact, I forgot about the band a lot of the time, not because they aren’t good, but because they complement her well-written songs so well.

These songs cover a two-year period with a great deal of change in her life, from a break-up to new love, from a move across the country to the death of someone dear to her. Even though these are her stories, you’ll feel them reflected in your own life. In “Drive On” she sings about “Working hard to let it all fall apart.” When there’s so much change, sometimes that’s all you can manage. We’ve all been there. “The First Song” is a break-up tune. In less experienced hands this topic could lumber along like a bad journal entry but instead, it feels like a conversation with friend where all you need to do is give her a cup of tea and listen. “Pretty Bird” has a bluegrass feel, with solid harmonies and lively banjo rolls and mandolin chops driving it along. Cosy is known for her funny songs and she doesn’t disappoint in the swing tune “Welcome to Boston,” a “tribute” to that city’s drivers – “They just need you to get out of their way / Welcome to Boston, have a nice day.” Cosy also likes to use myths and see how they apply to everyday life; in “Rise Out of the Water,” she imagines a conversation between Arthur and Guinevere. What character she plays in that story may surprise you. She’s a master at metaphors, using them well in “Lost and Found,” where finding your way might mean using a map to find the grocery store or to figure out your life in general. “Sing Goodbye” is a ballad with only guitar, bass and vocal that’s about processing the hard stuff life throws your way. “Charlie is My Darling” is a light-hearted song done in the style of “Freight Train” and “Charlie on the MTA.” The CD ends with a sweet lullaby, “The Sandman’s Ride.” Every song is a gem. Highly recommended.

Jamie Anderson

About Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson has done just about every job in music, from radio DJ to touring musician. She’s written for a plethora of music and LGBT publications; in May 2014 she published a memoir, Drive All Night. When she’s not obsessing over her latest writing project -- a book about women’s music -- she teaches guitar, mandolin, ukulele and songwriting in Ottawa, Ontario where she shares a home with her wife and two felines. She’s a singer-songwriter who’s recorded ten albums including the latest, Dare. Jamie loves dark chocolate, cats, and Orange is the New Black although she’d like to see a good TV show about lesbians that doesn’t include prison or a lead character dying.

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