The Sky Observer’s Guide , the sophomore project from folk songstress Amy Cook, embodies the old adage about everything being bigger in Texas. According to Cook’s songs skies full of stars, hopes, ambitions and heartaches all expand and grow measureless within the Lone Star State’s vast borders. Set against musical backdrops colored with the earth tones found in folk, country and pop, Cook’s tales are spun with a genuine sense of wonder and suggest the songwriter as a free spirit. The album opens with its two best tracks: “Coming Home (The Eclipse)”, built on a gorgeous wall of organic sound and “The Answer”, a straight ahead, very accessible alt. country track. Throughout the album, Cook seeks to cast a feeling of delicate beauty, most notably realized on the unpretentious folk ballad “Sunshine” and the breezy pop of “Bright Colored Afternoons.” At times, especially during the record’s second half, selected tracks cannot keep up with the grand design mapped out in its initial stages. “When the Day is Done”, for example, is a fairly pedestrian piece of folk rock and the guitar parts on “Pearl” seem a bit overdone in light of the song’s personal tone. However, the album ends with the beautifully expansive epilogue Cook attaches to the otherwise decent “Feathers to a Crown” and no matter the scope of her writing, Cook ties the entire project together with an omnipresent sense of dignity and grace.
// Notes from the Road
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