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Coty Hogue Coty Hogue
Album: Flight
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 10

The latest of three albums by Pacific Northwest songwriter Coty Hogue is an expression of restlessness articulated in music that's gently flowing with its own essential momentum.

Opening song Run exemplifies Coty's approach, and her backing crew (largely fiddler Kat Bula, bassist Missy Raines, guitarist/drummer Aaron Guest and mandolin player John Mailander) deftly fill in the spaces around the lyrics. These revolve around the theme of Coty spending the last couple of years thinking where she wants to go and how she wants to shape her life, and are characterised by bouts of introspection, but all the while she gains inspiration from nature too - in particular birds. Migrating warblers making their annual pilgrimage are the most obvious of the metaphors in Coty's cycle, but there's one key song (Redtail) whose inspiration stemmed from a particular moment when a hawk flew along beside her and she felt herself become one with nature. At this moment she felt really connected with her bike, the road and the environment around her.

This cycle of songs is a concept piece of sorts, and as such is probably not entirely representative of the totality of Coty's musical milieu, for although its instrumentation reflects the feel of the Appalachian balladry which she loves, these old songs are only really brought into the mix when Coty's reimagining the tale of Poor Ellen Smith through a different perspective. Coty does, however, bring a couple of more modern covers into the sequence - Lucinda Williams' Are You Down? and Fleetwood Mac's Dreams both cohere with the central theme, underscoring how a woman's ties to the past influence the direction of her future. The last-named title closes the album effectively, with guest Richard Scholtz on autoharp.

So far, so persuasive - and Coty's delivery manages to convince, although I don't find myself permanently hooked, probably because there's insufficient contrast between individual tracks to escape the overall impression that the journey was an easier ride than it had actually turned out to be in real life.

David Kidman