The Best: 1979-1999, Vol 2 offers more of Cheryl Cloud's original compositions reflecting her battle against the cancer that claimed her life in 1995. Particularly poignant in light of Cloud's life and early death are "Paper Clips and String" and "Battle Scars." The physical body may have passed, yet the valiant spirit remains. Her efforts toward greater cancer awareness earned her the American Cancer Society's Courage Award in 1994, and Common Ground honors her request that the music live on by continuing with performances and album releases. On a more upbeat note, Marcy Hogan's viola provides a gracious opening to "House on Pine," a lovely and lyrical song about a family home. Then lively, varied percussion and soaring vocals on "There's a Light" offer another heart lifter. "Senses Are a Reelin'," one of the band's favorites for live performance, rocks out to the tune that Mark Cloud created for Cloud's lyrics. Particularly noteworthy is the live performance of "Hold on Tight," a song of determination to carry on through life. That determination is also the underlying theme of much of Cheryl Cloud's songs. With its companion volume, this anthology serves as a positive introduction to Common Ground for newcomers. And since it includes the previously unreleased "There's a Light" and "A Million Faces," well-established fans will be interested also.
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