We have written about Suzy Callahan before (here and here). She is back with a new full-length release, and it is her most personal work so far. Two years ago, in May 2018, Callahan lost her mother. The waves of emotion and unease that she felt over that time found a voice with songs like "Holding Pattern," from her 2018 release "Magic," but it would take 2 more years to go through the process of grieving. "Not Exactly Sad" can be seen as an emotional rebirth, and an ambitious feat of self-exploration as Callahan lays her still-raw heart bare to the sunlight of open catharsis.
The new album features only two musicians - Suzy, and multi-instrumentalist husband Scott Tyburski. The intimacy and natural ambience of the performance is palpable, with an honesty of expression that exudes vulnerability and offers a pathway between pain and solace. Left with unresolved feelings and unanswered questions, Callahan forges her own sense of closure from the memories that she has chosen to keep. "Not Exactly Sad," as title track to the recording, is perfectly emblematic of the work as a whole: minimalistic and poignant, featuring a counterpoint of acoustic guitars that brings to mind the stripped-down, heartfelt folk-pop of Mick Flannery combined with the vocal primacy of Yael Naim. Lyrically, Callahan's fallback is hope, but sometimes you have to sob your guts out first. Mixed again by Floyd Reitsma whose credits include Courtney Marie Andrews and Dave Mathews, "Not Exactly Sad" contains 9 beautiful songs, laced with more decipher-it-yourself secret messages you can make at home.