Cordless (Flak Records)
Reviewed by Tim Stegall, Fri., Sept. 7, 2018
Utley3's two full-lengths, No More, No Less (2013) and While You're Down There (2015), bridged power-pop and singer-songwriter balladry. The balance tips toward the latter with leader Cordy Lavery's first, Cris Burns-produced solo disc. Lavery calls Cordless "tearjerkers and breakup songs," its download including Kleenex. Catch-in-throat Appalachian opener "You Won't Be Coming Back" and midset folk fist "Go" work out serious romantic angst. Along the way, her fingerpicked guitar and vulnerable alto are accompanied by mandolin ("In the Arms"), fiddle ("Love Will Find You"), and culminate with the downright desolate "What's Wrong With Us." Betty Elders' "Long Bed From Kenya" receives an authoritative reading, and "Eartha Kitty" provides light at the end of the tunnel. Aching and beautiful, Cordless cuts deep.