Andy Squyres isn’t looking to impress anyone. With a whispery voice, and a quiet energy he spills all his secrets in Cherry Blossoms.
Many young folk artists write songs with lofty ideals and profound insight, and we find similar material in this album. But what sets Squyres apart from these youngsters is the way he communicates the questions that haunt him in the night, questions he has no answers for. In an interview with Carlos Rodriguez of HappySonship.com he reveals the 8 song album was born out of personal tragedy. We see glimpses of this in What Nobody Should Know when the songwriter muses that the much talked about ‘amazing grace’ becomes real when he finds himself mourning on the floor, wondering how love could allow him to get to such a low place. In Unanswered Prayers, he navigates the tension of trusting a loving God in the midst of heartbreak. But it’s not depressing in the slightest- there’s a running theme of the victory of Jesus. Oh Love Supreme looks to the sacrifice of Christ; Squyres declares there’s not a weakness he has that can come against the triumph of the Cross. The Pestle and The Mortar acknowledges the promise of God standing true during difficulty. There’s such a present-ness that Squyres possesses; it’s an art truly to remain in the great divide of trial and truth.
Squyres’ musical layering is well-chosen. It seems that each track has something so subtly new that keeps the listener’s ears fresh. He uses low brass instruments in Unanswered Prayers to depart from guitar-picking folky styles we expect and take a more Gungor-esque (think: The Brilliance) approach. Featuring a sliding cello layered over deep plucking of the same instrument, Oh Love Supreme is woody and organic. Added to the musical bouquet is Labor in Vain, which blends bluegrass-gospel vocals with modern electronic effects. A loosely tuned piano paired with low brass form a perfect foundation for the un-airbrushed chorus of real-sounding vocals. Cherry Blossoms contains a more folk/slow gospel feel, with a simple piano ballad style under a crooning Squyres.
Tastefully arranged, each track feels complete yet unified to the album. You’re probably not going to be singing these songs around the house or in the car; he hasn’t created them to be catchy or poppy. He’s just let us in on his process. And that process is a series of musical stories you read with your ears, thoroughly engrossed, captivated, not because of the surprise of the ending but rather the craftsmanship it takes to tell it.
Buy the album on iTunes: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/album/cherry-blossoms/id1043590020?at=1010ld6y&mt=1&app=music
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