Sonya Cotton lists folks like Iron & Wine and Cat Power as among her influences, but at first, she bears only passing resemblance. Her voice has the practiced power, assurance and cadence of a professional singer, clear and sweet. Songs are arranged with a light, tasteful touch - mostly voice and guitar with occasional piano, drums and backing vocals. It's all a bit smoother than my usual rotation, but her new album Out of the Ocean has found a near-permanent home in my car stereo for the last few weeks.
Along with those great, pure vocals, Cotton's songs have self-effacing charm, vulnerability, and low-key melodies that really stick. The effect is something like The Innocence Mission recast in a more confessional mode. Give a listen to "These Days"; the way she sings this line, especially, get me every time:
"These days I’ve got little to say/what am I losing in these lonely rotting streets?/You say you miss me darling/well, I miss you too, my sweet."
MP3: Sonya Cotton - These Days
See her on tour:
Jan 20 2007 - Loaded Joe's, Avon, Colorado
Jan 28 2007- The Lab, Missoula, Montana
Feb 2 2007- The Funky Church, Portland, Oregon
Buy the album at her site and hear more songs at her MySpace.