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  Six Inches of Sky
Artist: Sherri Youngward
Label: BEC Recordings
Time: 10 tracks/43:10

Sherri Youngward returns with her debut release, entitled Six Inches of Sky (available Feb. 26), on BEC Records. Six Inches of Sky is her fourth album and a solid addition to her catalog. This is her first album made without the production guidance of Aaron Sprinkle (of Poor Old Lu and solo fame) and is instead under the helm of the Glitter Twins. Surprisingly enough, the sound of this album is much more akin to Sprinkle's solo work than Youngward's previous albums.

The music has a very dreamy, synth-oriented feel as opposed to the very acoustic guitar sounds of Youngward's previous efforts. The music here is mellow and lush, nicely accompanying Youngward's delicate voice. Former comparisons to Jennnifer Knapp and Shawn Colvin still hold while new comparisons to Beth Orton could be made.

This is not a groundbreaking album. There is nothing here that begs to be heard or screams, "look at me!" Instead, like Youngward's other albums, her music is just there for those who take the time to listen. These are songs of faith and inspiration that are confident enough to just be what they are and not try to push the listener to emotional highs. Whereas some Christian music in this vein comes across as "Christianity is Candyland" slogan-ism, this album is more reminiscent of a personal journal that isn't caught up in high-school politics, but of a mature and thoughtful statement of faith and hope.

While former fans of Ms. Youngward might find the music different from what they are used to hearing, it is not shockingly dissimilar. Six Inches of Sky should both please old listeners and draw new listeners to hear this talented young singer/songwriter.

Darryl A. Armstrong (02/07/2002)

Sherri Youngward returns after a few years with a new album on a new label.  Her debut for BEC Recordings follows the tradition of other Sherri Youngward releases; she has had albums released on Five Minute Walk Records and an independent release, with beautiful poetic music that forces the listener to feel the passion that she puts into her songs.

The album is a mix of acoustic pop, worship, blues and rock that blends into something more with Youngward's strong voice as the center piece to this gem of an album.

After a strong opener, Youngward follows up with a praise and worship track "Nothing Compares" that fits very nicely the modern praise and worship scene with a catchy melody and passionate lyrics.

A few tracks later is the bluesy cut "Fist Full of Stones" with a ominous sound created by the piano and drums.  The song takes on the view of a person looking to condemn someone, when they know themselves that are equally at fault to be condemned. 

I'm standing here
With my fist full of stones
And I can't believe
How hard I want them thrown.

I'm standing here
With my fist full of stones
Is the crime I condemn
My own

I'm standing here
With my fist full of stones

Someone is writing
Words in the sand
The stones become liquid
And fall from my hand

Youngward returns to a worshipful tone a few tracks later with a very intriguing take on the classic "I'll Fly Away" that has a Beatle-esque feel to it.  This version updates the classic very nicely. 

This release is a strong effort from Sherri Youngward.  A fantastic introduction to this artist or a welcome return for her long time fans.  There is some definite signs of growth and experimentation while keeping the essence of the artist in tact. 

Aaron Bell 2/7/2002
Swift Kick Entertainment

My first exposure to Sherri Youngward came from an old 5 Minute Walk sampler where I heard her songs "Beyond These Skies" and "Matthew 25 (The Broadway Song", both of which I instantly took to heart and remember fondly after all these years. Now, five years later, Sherri Youngward releases Six Inches of Sky on BEC Recordings, her brand new label home. With this new release, we still hear much of Youngward's traditional introspective mellow female rock sound, but now it's more polished. The overall feeling that I got from Six Inches of Sky is that it is much more compatible with adult contemporary radio than some of Youngward's older, more raw-sounding material. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Six Inches of Sky definitely includes some good tracks such as "Fist Full of Stones, "Everywhere," and a cover of "I'll Fly Away." For me, however, most of the tracks seem to come and go without much memorable material. Still, this is a pretty decent album for those times where you're in the mood for something mellow, which for me is normally when I'm tired. For those times, the music of Sherri Youngward should provide a nice solace for the ears and heart.

Trae Cadenhead 2/20/2002



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