Only As The Day Is Long
Sub Pop Records
4.5 out of 5 Stars
I know this review is coming a few months late, considering this album was released in March, but every once in a while you uncover a gem of an album that floats under the mainstream radar.
Sera Cahoone’s Only As The Day Is Long is one of those albums I stumbled upon after seeing her in an opening slot at a show in Denver last month. I walked out of that show with her CD in my hand and played it on the ride home; she was that good.
Only As The Day Is Long is Cahoone’s second album and first for the label Sub Pop. The album genre is in the same alt country/folk vein as such artists as Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams and Eliza Gilkyson. I know that is mighty fine company to keep and I might have set expectations a little high, but Cahoone has got the songs, got the voice, got the delivery and got an album that should be noticed.
Only As The Day Is Long features 10 songs, all around the four-minute mark. Each song’s arrangement is kept minimal with acoustic guitar and Cahoone’s voice as the focal point.
However, gorgeous textures are created by Jeff Fielder on pedal steel and banjo, Erica Johansen on violin and Bradley Hawkins on cello. The group is rounded out with Jonas Haskins on bass and Jason Merculief on drums. Album standouts include the hopeful “Barker Lake,” the playful “You Might As Well,” and the beautiful “You’re Not Broken.”
The 32-year-old Cahoone has a knack for creating immediate moods with each song and by setting those moods her lyrics come across easily and unforced, almost as if she has lived for centuries — a wise storyteller sitting on a wooden porch telling you her stories of a simpler time when love and heartbreak were real and you had to deal with the cards you were dealt in order to keep things together. If you did, things could be wonderful once again.