SERA CAHOONE – ” From Where I Started “

Posted: March 21, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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For more than a decade, singer-songwriter Sera Cahoone has specialized in a shy, introverted kind of folk music: She started her career at the back of the stage, playing drums for Band Of Horses, and the solo songs that followed reflected the gently unassuming nature of a singer who couldn’t showboat in the spotlight if she tried. Instead, Cahoone’s first three records — a self-titled 2006 debut, 2008’s Only As The Day Is Long and 2012’s Deer Creek Canyon, all great settle in as front-porch comfort music, with a lyrical and sonic emphasis on soothing the listener’s aches and woes.

But on “From Where I Started”, Cahoone’s first album in five years, something’s different, and it’s clear in the first words of the opening track. “First years I ever played my, my songs for anyone / My back was toward them and I sang down to the ground. / Got so tired of being nervous that I finally turned around.” That song, “Always Turn Around,” marks the beginning of a clear shift toward putting more of herself into each warm bit of storytelling.

Thankfully, Cahoone has lost none of her easygoing approachability along the way; her songs still amble sweetly and gently, propelled by a voice that radiates kindness. But, starting with “Always Turn Around,” From Where I Started tackles personal realities in ways its predecessors generally didn’t. In “Ladybug” she pays empathetic, finely detailed tribute to a cousin killed by a domestic partner — “All the signs were right there / We just couldn’t believe” — while “Up To Me” offers a bracingly grown-up take on lifetime love. (“I wanna be your lover / Like no other / But it’s not really up to me.”)

Still, Cahoone remains fascinated with contentment, and From Where I Started closes by painting a picture of domestic bliss undisturbed by the constant churn of the world around it. In “House Our Own,” amid a sweet haze of slide guitars, she examines and celebrates the way the right relationship can redefine our concept of home. For all the album’s detours into tragedy and self-doubt, it’s natural that Sera Cahoone would close the proceedings where her solo career started: in the pursuit of freedom from the prison of a worried mind.

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