Cosy Sheridan's Latest Worthy, but too Homespun

The Horse King
Waterbug 102
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Cosy Sheridan’s latest CD is a humor sandwich with poignant filling. She leads with three whimsical songs that dare to make suggestions that have occurred to lots of us. On the barrel house/honky tonk-styled “Higher Financial Reform” she advises us not to trust our pensions to high-flying boys who are younger than we. Then she offers career counseling for those seeking to make a living by the arts: “Keep Your Overhead Low.” And, at last, someone tackles the non-appeal of “Air Guitar” and makes the commonsense remark that it would be better to learn how to play the real thing!

After little flights of folly and frolic, Sheridan turns serious for four songs. The title track pays homage to a real-life horse whisperer she knew when she was younger; “Icarus” retells the classic by making him into a hero with the courage to fly rather than the foil of a cautionary tale; “The Angles in Rome” muses on the statuary that (in my view) often evokes more spirituality than what lies inside the building; and “Don’t Walk Away from Love” could be an Emmylou Harris song.

Then it’s back to the lighter side when contemplating naked bodies of older women (“Religious Art”), the scariness of one’s inner thoughts (“Would You Like to Meet the Voice inside My Head”), and in providing the antidote to life’s trials and tribulations (“Be Outside”). The latter would make a great anthem for the Boy and Girl Scouts!

This is a very likable album, but it’s also too homespun for its own good. Sheridan’s vibrato is starting to show some wear and the instrumentation and backup vocals do little to assist her. She’s always been upbeat, vivacious, and fearless, but it sounded to me as if a lower key might have been a better fit for several of the songs. I recommend this album for its cleverness, good heart, and kind spirit, but it’s a bit like Sheridan’s take on the aging female body: don’t expect a work of art.—Rob Weir

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