Sera Cahoone won’t dash through the listener’s comprehension, mucking up the place with high brow poetics and experimental fits of song. No, Only as the Day is Long (Sub Pop) keeps classic and country; the kind of immediate, warm blooded listen that seeps and settles in on first listen. ‘Course this is a good thing. Records that reveal their intentions from the get go often take off at the same kind of pace. Ask Band of Horses – the band Cahoone once slapped skins for – where the straight and narrow of breakout, Everything All the Time – the album Cahoone played on – lead them. That would be where most musicians only dare to dream. Could Cahoone’s wonder touch strike again? Perhaps…But like Eleni Mandell tuning in to twang a few years back, Cahoone the cowgirl is a refreshing listen; one I’d imagine listeners the world over will have no problems falling for.
A fitting, finger picking introduction to the crisp brand of country folk that lay ahead, “You Might As Well” is made of meager components. Like the strands of a vine, Cahoone tangles guitar and dobro as one…an equable backdrop to her cigarette stained voice and lonely melodies. Yet as obvious as the sense of sorrow is, sadness and longing never threaten the track (or any other for that matter), glazing over the song’s body in warm and rustic shades of brown, maroon, orange, and cream instead. It’s a handsome trick; one that may leave the listener wondering just how the Denver native pulls it off time and time again. Perhaps it’s her hopeful spin on lyrics like “Everyone’s saying the best is already gone/But I know what we got coming ‘round/Days are alive and filed up with changes/It’s only half of what we have coming ‘round”, from album highlight “Baker Lake”. Or may be it’s the steady build of banjo, peddle steel, and violin to Cahoone’s graceful, acoustic sway. Regardless, it probably doesn’t matter in the end. No, what’s important is that Only as the Day is Long is a unique place where magic and melancholy mingle together, one cleverly disguised as the other. Can you pick out the two? – David Pitz