New Jersey singer/songwriter Cotton?s sophomore release is an agreeable collection of introspective observations that marry soothing harmonies to lovely embellishments like the xylophone on the tender love song, ?Baby Isabella,? the organ bed of roses that supports ?Tumbleweeds? and the easy, conversational tone of her vocals. There?s a pleasing, earthy, Carly Simon tone to some of her arrangements on tracks like ?Open Owl Face? and there?s even a nice, acoustic, Neil Young-y strum to ?The Dying Light.?
The strolling banjo backing to ?The Light Around Your Legs? adds a down-home, back porch vibe to this uplifting little charmer, and Cotton brings a tender, quivering, little girl innocence to ?These Days? that favorably recalls Natalie Merchant. A warmly seductive listening experience that sounds perfect huddled under the blankets on a cold winter?s night (it was recorded in a cabin on a lake in Connecticut) that should go down well with college coeds as the perfectly suited background soundtrack to a chapters of Ana?s Nin and Sylvia Plath on a lonely, rainy, Sunday afternoon. Some of the songs (?The Dying Light,? ?Churchbells,? and closer ?Frozen Hands?) clock in at or under 2:00 and could use a little more attention to flesh them out, but overall Sonya Cotton appears, on the strength of this release, to be someone I would like to spend a relaxing dinner with, enjoying a few bottles of wine and her interesting, down to earth conversation. And that?s the highest complement I can give to any singer/songwriter who is not averse to wearing her heart on her sleeve and putting her soul on the line for everyone to explore. 8/10 -- Jeff Penczak (9 May, 2007)