As its title suggests, Cabin in the Woods was recorded in a cabin in the woods in upstate New York in 2000. The acoustic songs echo the rural landscape and the back-to-nature mindset of Retsin's Tara Jane O'Neil and Cynthia Lynn Nelson. Nelson sings on the opening "Bright Sunshine" while O'Neil steps in on "The Bitter Bar Corner," which is completed by Ida Pearle's solemn violin. The pair continues to alternate songwriting duties throughout the disc. O'Neil's banjo on "Sepia Shade" blissfully maintains the pace over the duo's relaxed harmonies. O'Neil even makes an appearance on toy piano. Nelson's flute on "Bug Song" adds to the already mystical musical environment, which includes Ida's Liz Mitchell on accordion. "Berries" is a definite highlight, with some of the most powerful lyrics and vocals of the 15-song disc. "Ohayo Mtn Road" and "Carnival" follow, adding to the disc's folksy and hillbilly aura. "Dog and a Butterfly" is one of the more upbeat offerings on the otherwise sedate disc. The music returns to Retsin's usual subdued and seductive style on "Tangerine Moon." The down-home feel to the record is rounded out gracefully on the CD's final track, "Flatleaver." The songs were mixed and mastered by the band, with help from Christian Quick. Chicago's Carrot Top Records released Cabin in the Woods in 2001.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer