Gone by Noon, starts off like a hip, offbeat collection of poetry set to music, but it quickly becomes clear that Erin Sitton has more than a gift for story telling; she draws listeners in with her adept guitar work and quirky melodies that are often heartbreakingly lovely. She explores a range of complex human emotions, from the grief of losing a loved one, to the melancholy of remembering first love, to the upbeat optimism of finding true love in "A Wedding Song".
You might find yourself humming songs from the album at random times, and although they are varied in style and content, one theme that comes through repeatedly is that of nostalgia for some hallowed image of "home". People leave home for different reasons, whether it's leaving a bad relationship, leaving a good relationship that's run its course, or simply growing up and moving on, and the songs on this album touch upon all of them. You can't help thinking that someone who has been left behind by Erin can take comfort in the knowledge that she has taken her leave with plenty of sensitivity and reflection. "I Drink Orange Juice", an anthem for anyone struggling with leaving behind a relationship that is unfulfilling, almost the "I Will Survive" of mellow, folk-style music, cleverly turns the tables and leaves one feeling that the neglected, condescended-to protagonist in the story is the one with the upper hand, the more competent survivor.
There's a strong sense of the artist's loyalty to her roots, as evidenced by "The Three" and "Christmas Has Come", both of which examine her relationships with her brothers, the first looking back at the past, the second articulating the precarious combination of stress and comfort
that comes with family reunions. "Weeping Yogi" almost carelessly tosses out the lyric, "In case I don't come back, I didn't want to leave you all alone", which would bring you to tears if it wasn't sung so cheerfully, as a matter-of-fact pledge of loyalty to those left behind.
Erin's one-woman show is impressive in its richness and simplicity, and is sprinkled throughout with surprising little bursts of harmony, the well-placed voice-overs of the artist herself. The whole CD builds up to the beautiful, stirring "Sun Pass", whose lyrics don't seem limited to a single interpretation but leave one feeling sad (and... inexplicably happy?) about the inevitable passage of time, passage of friendships, and passage of life. It ties in beautifully with the previous themes of leaving and returning home, growing into and out of relationships, facing losses of all types, thanking our lucky stars for the finds. Meanwhile the sun's passage, beautiful and relentless, illuminates these daily struggles we are all subject to. Bravo Erin, for this masterful work. It's no wonder live audiences all over Colorado love this woman!