Yvonne Lyon,
A Thousand Questions Why
(independent, 2007)

Yvonne Lyon, a singer/songwriter out of Scotland, has released an album of folk-rock titled A Thousand Questions Why. She has absolutely no accent that I can discern. In fact, I was surprised to learn she was from Scotland -- she sounds, like, totally American to my ears. Yvonne's brand of folk-rock is very accessible and could easily appeal to a wide audience.

"Where Echoes End" reminds me of Sarah McLachlan. The piano melody is slow and touching. When she gets to the end of the chorus and with pain in her voice intones "What I wouldn't give now just for you. What I wouldn't give now just for you," I sometimes tear up. The emotion is strong. As far as A Thousand Questions Why, this is Yvonne at her best.

Yvonne almost seems to be channeling the Sundays on "October Day Therapy." This folksy song is light and hopeful. It is whimsical in how it equates bottling up an October day to a medicine or pill that you could take to make life better. As she says in the song, "October Day Therapy" will bring you "a deeper peace."

The one track on the CD not written at least in part by Yvonne is the traditional "Down to the River to Pray." While Yvonne's rendition is not quite on the same level as the version Alison Krauss did on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, she does a respectable job with it. I think this song in particular demonstrates her vocal strengths because the instruments are stripped down to bare basics.

Yvonne sings and plays guitars, piano djembe and glockenspiel. She is supported by 11 other musicians including Ali Whitty (backing vocals), Graeme Duffin (various guitars and backing vocals), Sandy Jones (programming samples and keys), Alyn Cosker (drums), Kev McGuire (upright bass), Chris Stout (fiddle), David Lyon (accordion, wurlitzer, guitars and piano), Pete Harvey (cello), Ross Hamilton (bass guitar), Craig Dunsmore (mandolin, flugelhorn and cornet) and Ken Lyon (flute and low whistle).

While I compared Yvonne to different artists in this review, the majority of the tracks are truly her own. She has very nice vocals and a great bunch of musicians backing her up. As I write this, the year is a third over and I've received almost 20 CDs to review for Rambles. At this point in time I would not be surprised if A Thousand Questions Why becomes my favorite CD for 2008 (even though it was released in 2007). I can really get in to this type of folk-rock and will confess I have found myself playing this CD multiple times over the course of a day. If Yvonne had the backup of big-record marketing, she very well could be the next Sarah McLachlan. I have no doubt!

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Wil Owen

2 August 2008

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