Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Town and Country - Shorter Artist Feature from Issue #22 July-Aug 1999

Cynthia Gayneau

Sister in the sun

SEATTLE, WA

Nobody with any degree of hipness aspired to sing on Broadway in 1966, so when 16-year-old Cynthia Gano ruined her voice smoking cigarettes, she didn’t much feel the loss of withdrawing from those classes. Thirty years later, she finally found time to sing what she really loved, and recorded her debut, Blue Highway.

“I was getting to a certain age, and I had been writing songs for a number years,” she says over the phone from a temporary assignment in San Francisco. “I just finally felt, well, I’m going to put out a record so, if I die tomorrow, the songs are out there, at least some of them.”

Her second outing, Postcards From My Mind, recently set another 16 songs free. Both albums reveal Gayneau’s high, always graceful vocals. In range and phrasing, her voice is vaguely reminiscent of another late bloomer, Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Her songs, despite drawing frequently from country’s broken-hearted tradition, share the sense of inner peace that Gilmore exudes, though she doesn’t approach his hard edge of sadness. Musical settings match her frequent travels, including nods to the Opry she heard as a child, Cajun music, honky-tonk and coffee shop.

Inbetween, Gayneau — she reclaimed the family name from its anglicized spelling along the way — can point to a life well-lived and, well, more miles than money. That includes raising two children (she now has two grandchildren) and pursuing a career as a photographer (she won an NEA grant in 1984; her most recent show was at the Seattle Art Museum), occasional guest appearances in the studio and onstage with younger brother Gordon, of the Violent Femmes; and gigs opening for Bill Monroe, Hank Thompson and Josh Graves.

The daughter of a now-retired Baptist preacher who holds Screen Actors Guild and Equity cards as an actor and director, Gayneau became accustomed early on to a nomadic lifestyle. Her adult life has moved from the mountains of New Mexico, to Tucson (where her kids talked her into playing coffee shops), to Portland, to Seattle, and soon, at least for this fall, to Austin. With plenty of side trips along the way.

“I guess about February I gave up my job and my house and [my husband] and I parted ways,” she says with a bright, easy laugh. “I mean, we’re playing Folklife together and stuff, we’re still friends.” That’s good, because Walter Cryderman has been an integral part of Gayneau’s two albums as producer, arranger and guitarist.

“Until August I’m in limbo,” she says. “In August I’m going to go to Austin and seriously figure out what I’m doing. But it does all revolve around this record, for sure.”

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Discuss

Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #22 July-Aug 1999

Cover of Issue #22 July-Aug 1999

Sorry, this issue is SOLD OUT

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »


From the Blogs

  • No Depression Is Getting a Facelift: A Note About What's Around the Bend
    Ever since we announced that No Depression had been acquired by FreshGrass back in March, we’ve heard from many of you with questions, concerns, and ideas about the future of this website and the community that gathers here. We created a forum topic at that time so we could organize these comments and refer to them frequently, which we have done as we’ve dev […]
  • Getting to Know Ashley Sofia -- Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
    Have you ever had the feeling that a musician may have traveled through space and time during a recording project?  Music critics and fans are hailing Ashley Sofia as a 21st century reincarnation of the Laurel Canyon folk-rock sound  on the early 1970s. Ashley’s songwriting and captivating voice make for a great combination; she’s definitely worth a… […]
  • Learning Songwriting at the Feet of Steve Earle
    Steve Earle has his eye on the history books. Not for himself, necessarily - though I doubt he’d object - but for his art form, “songwriting as literature.” With Camp Copperhead, Steve seemed to be trying to secure this form a place in history. “Four days of singing and songwriting,” the marketing materials promised. “Hard core.” I’m a non-professional songw […]
  • Jack Clement – For Once And For All (Album Review)
    Allen, Reynolds, and a laid-back, masterful collection of familiar Clement-penned country classics. A decade of Clement-penned originals plus a pair of co-writes grace this late music legend’s third solo collection, released just short of a year after his passing aged 82. Memphis-raised Jack Henderson Clement launched his career with the renowned imprint Sun […]
  • Wise Old Moon - The Patterns (Album Review)
    Wise Old Moon. Sounds like a tall tale from an old children’s story book. Perhaps the namesake of a tavern or bookstore in a New England town that hasn’t quite caught up with time yet? But in this case it’s the name of a young and truly gifted roots music outfit from the Connecticut area. Every so often a record comes along that makes you happy this kind of […]
  • Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin I, II & III 2014 Remasters (Album Review)
    Has any music reviewer ever missed the mark more than John Mendelsohn in his 1969 Rolling Stone critique of Led Zeppelin’s scorching, finely honed debut? After calling the album self-indulgent, he labeled Jimmy Page “a very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs” and dismissed Robert Plant’s “strained and unconvincing shouting.” The album […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!


Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter