CD Review—Amy Cunningham

The past few years have brought on a Canadian folk revival, and there are many bright stars coming out of the works. Amy Cunningham’s one of them, and her new album To the Stars We’ll Return is brilliant.
Cunningham’s knack for music is in her genes. Her grandfather used to sit in for Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash when they played in Toronto, and Cunningham herself started singing at a young age, taking up guitar when she was 14, performing in a college band, and more recently, opening for Craig Cardiff and Sam Roberts.

To listen to Cunningham’s music today, you’d think she was born on the West Coast of Canada. Her music frequently recalls oceanic metaphors, and the songs share a lot of West Coast sentiments.

To the Stars We’ll Return is Cunningham’s debut album, and she’s currently promoting it on the road. Cunningham’s putting it all out there—the album’s a search of the self and the struggle to be present, with undertones of environmental sustainability issues and travelling.

This folk album has a touch of country and soul added to the mix. “Take me Away” has a beautiful instrumental accompaniment to Cunningham’s voice, which reminds the listener a bit of Jewel, with a touch of Dixie Chicks twang, but sounding exactly like neither. “We are the Ones” is an upbeat-sounding song with lyrics that seem influenced by the Dalai Lama, “may you understand your diving plan/ may your heart be full right where you are.” The song will be featured in an upcoming documentary, Community Connections, by British Columbian filmmaker Chris Carter.

Cunningham performed in Kamloops and Ontario this fall, and will play in Nashville, Tenn. before performing in Hakuba, Japan. It seems like word’s caught on—watch out for this bright star.

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