A Century of Experience in 20 minutes
Never will you hear a suite of songs that combines the ideas of the rare feminist concept, the now-archaic EP, and the musical ingenuity of contemporary folk quite like Ellen Cherryâ€šÃ„Ã´s Years. A century of women’s experiences intertwine flawlessly with Cherryâ€šÃ„Ã´s deliberate voice and talented guitar production, creating an intensely creative EP that gives the listener just a taste of this multitalented singer-songwriterâ€šÃ„Ã´s prowess.Ms. Cherry takes us on a journey from the Civil War to 1970s counterculture through the gaze of six women she creates in such a well-crafted fashion that it makes one wonder how the journey would continue if she brought it up to present day.
The EP opens with “1864: A Civil War Bride”, a young woman’s angst-ridden ballad directed at her battle-enslaved husband. The force of Ms. Cherry’s guitar reflects perfectly the tone of the lyrics. Her strong voice and contemporary sound make the song seem applicable to the current war in Iraq.
“1864” gives way to “1893: A Girl at the Worldâ€šÃ„Ã´s Fair,” a rolling cry for freedom on the cusp of a new era, highlighted by subtle backing xylophone that brings the dreamlike attitude of the character into musical reality. The Twentieth Century brings us “1912: Violet Swims, But the Ship Sinks,” a ballad paying homage to the Titanic’s first and last voyage. The a cappella opening leads to a solo piano and electric guitar that play off each other flawlessly and the beautiful backing vocals speak directly to the chorus of “the steam burns on as the quartet plays a song / we all go down in the ocean.”
The album rounds out with tales of a 1950s housewife and 1976’s “Buffalo Gals Don’t Worry About Fashion.” The tracks combine to form a solid picture of Ellen Cherry’s passions for songwriting, sound engineering, and, of course, history. The only complaint is that the album is too short.