The pull of the west lures many creative individuals and Vancouver Island singer/songwriter Amy Cunningham heard the siren call from Ontario and headed out.
Her music reflects this spirit, focussing on eco-centric themes and the natural world. That doesn’t mean that she does the hippie dance in flowing robes, chanting the “don’t know where I’m going/don’t know where I’ve been” flower child tranquility mantra.
Cunningham’s music is tranquil and soothing with a regional feeling for folk/country forms (Freedom). Her voice has a calming effect reminiscent of Jewel around the edges.
Acoustic guitars, banjo and mandolin feature in her songs and her musical cohorts support the material with insight, giving much of the music a warm undertone that recalls the best of the mid-‘70s heyday of B.C. West Coast folk rock.
The lilt in Cunningham’s voice finds a mirror in the upbeat drone of Onelife, a haunting track whose simplicity brings out an ethereal texture. This sound works some mystery on other cuts like Saving Grace, a dark tinged meditation on music’s beckoning light.
The gentle moods on To the Stars We’ll Return are enhanced by the atmospheric character of Cunningham’s melodic songs. Sincerity and depth shine through her songs and bring obvious subject matter new believability (Love).
–– Dean Gordon-Smith is The Morning Star’s music reviewer. His column, Street Sounds, appears every Friday.