Sera Cahoone sings like an angel. That may sound like a cliche, but with her fourth album "From Where I Started," she proves she's worthy of the comparison. The Seattle-based singer, songwriter and occasional drummer has come up with a collection of songs so breathtakingly beautiful, it's as if they originated in places far beyond this mortal coil. Cahoone's sumptuous blend of furtive folk and a country caress result in a sound that's positively ethereal in its heavenly gaze, so gentle, alluring and engaging, it's all but impossible not to be caught up in its spell. Indeed, a more sublime set of songs would be hard to imagine.
While Cahoone calls upon an impressive group of collaborators - Rob Burger (Iron and Wine, Lucinda Williams), Dave Depper (Death Cab For Cutie), Annalisa Tornfelt (Black Prairie) and co-producer John Morgan Askew (Neko Case, Laura Gibson, Alela Diane) among them - the real credit goes to Cahoone herself. She's a singular presence throughout, her gentle vocals and sumptuous arrangements making for a spellbinding combination. "Up To Me," "Only One" and "Tables Turned" may be willowy and wistful in a subtle sort of way, but they offer an emphatic impression regardless, a calming respite at a time where it's needed the most.
Granted, Cahoone's passive approach may seem too understated at first to attract the wider attention she clearly deserves. As its title implies, "From Where I Started" is a throwback to her acoustic roots, and sadly, frailty and finesse don't appear to count for much these days. Nevertheless, Cahoone's created an album so seeped in dreams and desire, it captures her approach as never before. A career-defining album, it's exceptional in every regard.