Cyndi Harvell – From the Echo
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Record Label: Fortune Records
As one of a nation of female country/folk acts clamoring for attention, Cyndi Harvell needs to swim upstream awfully hard to stand out. On From the Echo, she settles into a sweet spot by courting familiarity: the album has your typical roots tunes, but shows glints of pop every now and then. It’s passionate, though, and that makes it solid. Is Harvell swimming hard enough here? Perhaps only record sales will tell, but from the standpoint of musical quality, there’s no question that she is. And in the end, that should be all that matters.
There are a few instances where Harvell’s vocals are too nasally for comfort, like when she sings the chorus in “Lighthouse.” But for the most part, From the Echo has plenty to be intrigued by. “Middleman” runs on an adorably funky bass line, while “Eye of A Needle” romps with blues swagger. “Break For It” yearns for country roads Carrie Underwood-style. Several tracks even dim the lights for some mood, à la Corinne Bailey Rae (“Off Chance,” “The Underside”), so the Americana package is pretty exhaustive here. Few things are left to be desired when it comes to strong songwriting, that’s for sure.
Harvell doesn’t exactly distinguish herself from the other artists in her niche, but she certainly doesn’t get herself lost in it either. Songs like the show-stopping closer “Afterlife,” with its almost classic rock ire, suggest she’ll be able to stick around for quite some time. At the very least, we most definitely would like her to. Such is the case with From the Echo – count it among the female folk albums you already own, but expect to return to it quite often. There are few things more satisfying than a beautifully sung folk song, and Harvell is more than qualified to deliver.