Imagine a poetess, singer, muse, and guitar goddess all in one petite package – and she makes it all look oh so easy. Last Friday’s Intermountain Acoustic Music Association concert brought a potpourri of treats, among them award winning acoustic guitarist Cosy Sheridan and her equally talented partner, TR Ritchie. As her name would suggest, Cosy’s music warmed up the audience in a hurry, in spite of the frigid northern Utah weather.
TR Ritchie, an award winning musician in his own right, started off the evening with a few solo numbers. Ritchie played guitar and harmonica and sang “All My Troubles Seem Small.”
All my troubles seem small
When I see these people with their backs against the wall
When I see what they go through
And see how far they fall
Compared to them, I’ve got no troubles at all
He continued his set with “An Ireland Left Behind,” about immigrants leaving their homeland for new adventures in Seattle. Ritchie’s voice is deep and comforting, almost as if he is a modern day philosopher weaving authentic stories of people’s lives into musical verse.
Ritchie’s musical journey began back at Pike Market in Seattle where he was a “busker,” in other words, playing for tips. He has produced five CDs and won or placed at music and songwriting festivals including the 2008 Susanne Millsaps Songwriter Showcase in Utah, Jubilee Folk Festival, and Napa Valley Folk Festival, among many others. With Cosy, he co-founded the Moab Folk Camp.
Cosy joined Ritchie on stage for the remainder of the performance. The two are harmonic soul mates of the highest order: their voices are so different yet blend together seamlessly as one. They opened with “Wild Horses:”
How long was I fooling myself?
How long was I living a lie?
Telling myself that it doesn’t matter
I let all those chances go by
If it were mine to do over
I’d blow off the doors to begin
The lion would roar
The eagle would soar
And wild horses would come charging in.
The song continues about precious time being squandered and questions is it ever too late to begin? These words thunderously resonated with me. I have known for years, probably decades, that writing was my soul’s desire, and yet I suppressed my “calling” for sometimes unreasonable reasons. I am glad to have finally found my voice in this blog and am looking forward to wherever it leads me next. Cosy’s performance was flush with tantalizing, thought-provoking messages about embracing one’s life passions, or in contrast, failing to do so: Stare too long at the wrapping and never get to the gift inside.
Cosy’s past performances have taken her to Carnegie Hall, The Jerry Lewis Telethon, and Philadelphia Folk Festival. Her songs have appeared in Robert Fulghum’s book “Third Wish” and “Lines Across The Sand.”
Cosy studied voice at Berklee and 1992 began to enter songwriting contests and win. She’s completed seven CDs and is co-founder of Moab Folk Camp with Ritchie as well as a teacher at music camps throughout the U.S. But Friday night she played to a packed house at the South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society building, which, by the way, is a welcoming and much-loved concert venue here in Salt Lake City.
Brilliant and bluntly honest tunes such as “The Weekend Workshop,” “Don’t Trust Your Pension to Someone Younger Than You,” and “In the Land of 10,000 Mothers” rounded out the lineup. Toward the end, Cosy played “Do You Love the Life You’ve Made?”
We all know too well the energy-sapping, conflicting consequences of being anything but authentic. As one of my favorite authors, Sarah Ban Breathnach noted, “The authentic self is the soul made visible.” And the quest for authenticity is what Cosy and Ritchie bring to life in their insightful musical message. A message delivered so smoothly we didn’t know we were in a workshop that night.