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CD of the Month (Oct 09) Yvonne Lyon, “Ashes & Gold”

13 October, 2009

ashes_gold

This month’s recommendation is the latest CD from female artist, Yvonne Lyon.  Her Ashes & Gold (Emu Bands under license 2009) is available through iTunes.  You can visit Lyon’s web site, Yvonne Lyon Music for more information about her and earlier CDs.  Three particular commendable qualities:

First,  this CD has superb production quality.  Full credit goes to both Lyon and her husband, David, but also to the folk at Foundry Music Lab.  The sound quality is rich, tightly arranged and creatively mixed.  It’s a pleasure listening to excellent recording production!  This quality enlivens the good backing musicians — notably some outstanding string accompaniment.

Second, Lyon’s musicality is refreshing and simultaneously captivating.  It’s sort of hard to classify her music: it is a mix of acoustic, folk and ballad. To my ears (and this is entirely subjective!) she vocally echoes some of Shawn Colvin and Sarah McLachlan.  Lyon’s acoustic guitar work is very good but her piano is even better (both, again enhanced by the excellent production quality).

Third, her lyrics are intellectually rich and poetically suggestive.  Personally, I enjoy good musicality with thought-provoking lyrics.  In this CD Lyon gave me both, and in spades!  The opening track, “Feel the Light”, expresses some of her experience when she visited Cambodia. So, too, are the haunting and provocative words of “The Reckoning” — also arising out of her visit to Cambodia.

Other songs convey the paradox of beauty and brokenness,

All is not perfect/All is not torn/All is not wasted/The bruised and the worn/We’re walking through ashes and gold/And all is not lost (“All Is Not Lost”)

My sense is that Lyon sings not of simplistic optimism but of what is substantial — a substance ‘touched’ and ‘realised’ because, as she puts it, “We are not alone”.  But, I don’t want to give the game away.  I suspect she might dismiss my suggestion that she herself is someone who,

She sees all the colours that we used to see/But don’t look for these days

She hears a world that doesn’t speak of doubt or fear/And she’s amazed at all the the tiny things/All the tiny things (“Tiny Things”)

Check out this latest CD from Yvonne Lyon and listen carefully.  You’ll be rewarded.

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