RADAR: Sonya Cotton

We're normally looking forward on the DC RADAR but we have to make an exception for San Francisco-based songwriter Sonya Cotton and her too-good-to-be-overlooked album It is so. Showing up in our mailbox recently months after it's release last fall, Cotton's latest collection of songs has a marked traditionalist feel, echoing delicate Laurel Canyon folk/pop harmonies, classic Sandy-Denny-styled U.K. acoustic balladry and elegant Americana. But despite the gossamer Judy Collins/Joni Mitchell feel, Cotton builds upon the retro foundations with a contemporary edge, turning songs like "Washington" and "Winter Hands" into meditative folk hymns -- think Joanna Newsom without the dramatic pretense -- on love, loss and the beauty (and creatures) of the natural world. It is so is dedicated to the Cotton's mother who passed away in 2009. Stream the album (and buy) at her Bandcamp page...

Sonya Cotton - "Washington" (from It is so)

Sonya Cotton - "Frozen Hands" (from It is so)