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Ellen Cherry
6 tracks / 20 minutes

Discipline is hard to achieve as a songwriter. Most wait for that elusive inspiration, but a few die-hards (and God bless ‘em) buckle down and get to work writing songs. Ellen Cherry’s concept album, years, arose from Cherry’s ambitions of writing an entire album in a month (February 2005).

Based around the stories of six women from varying years (“1864: A Civil War Bride,” “1893: A Girl at the World’s Fair,” “1912: Violet Swims, but the Ship Sinks,” “1933: To California,” “1950: Inside the Music Box,” and “1976: Buffalo Gals Don’t Worry About Fashion”), Cherry’s tale-telling tunes steam with coffeehouse goodness. Cherry’s smooth, pleasing vocals and subdued instrumental textures warm over these basic, acoustic songs.

The dreamy tinkle of “Inside the Music Box” captures the unreal picture of a 1950’s housewife; the traditional Euro-folk melody of “Violet Swims, but the Ship Sinks” paints an eerie picture of the sinking of the Titanic. Cherry takes on the characters of each of the women with a sincerity and understanding that makes their lives seem authentic and believable, a bit of fictitious oral history relayed in song.

RIYL: Sara Groves, Shawn Colvin, Alison Krauss, Sam Phillips

Greg Adams


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