Lynn Cardona faces love’s dark side on “Ophelia”

Singer-songwriter Lynn Cardona has Midwestern and Southern roots, but her theme of choice on “Ophelia” is universal. On the three-song album, Cardona uses jazz to explore what happens when love goes wrong one way or another. This is not tongue-in-cheek. There is no big band flare to tell audiences that things will be okay at the end of a drum roll or horn blast. Instead, the beauty of the songs is found in the almost wispy quality of Cardona’s voice and the stark poetry of her lyrics. Those two qualities consume listeners with their gentle, but persistent pull. 

About Lynn Cardona

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Cardona moved to Memphis, Tennessee after high school. She quickly began to make her way by singing in various venues around the city. 

Cardona’s story, like her work on “Ophelia,” never shies away from the dark. Instead, she manages to make art out of the less-than-pleasant moments she has experienced. Inspired in part by the poetry of e.e. Cummings and her own life, Cardona ends up crafting lyrics that read like their own subgenre of poetry. 

At one point, the end of one relationship left Cardona considering suicide. She had a gun and was ready to use it. Instead, she reached out to a friend and received help. Two of the three songs on “Ophelia” were written during Cardona’s time of healing. 

To bring “Ophelia” to life, Cardona hired some of the best musicians in Southern California. She had relocated to the area after teaching in South Korea. 

The sound of “Ophelia” by Lynn Cardona

The album is brief. The three songs, “A Little Too Late,” “Mother Earth” and “Ophelia,” are all roughly four minutes long. But the work is beautiful. Cardona sounds vulnerable, but that seems appropriate for an artist who states, “I want listeners to feel that they can relate to me on the deepest level.”

If jazz songs can be likened to paintings, then “Ophelia” is comprised of the most delicate execution of pointillism. Cardona’s voice quality is delicate. It invites leaning forward, but her delivery is clear. The ensemble that backs her does not overwhelm, but the musicians use their dynamics to seemingly underscore what Cardona sings. 

For example, the lively guitar matches Cardona’s determined repetition of the phrase “I will evolve” on “Mother Earth.” 

“Ophelia” is a beautiful example of contemporary jazz however brief, and should be listened to on repeat. Additional nuances will inspire repeated spins for most jazz fans. 

“Ophelia” has been available on Amazon, iTunes and, since Aug. 20, 2019.

– Dodie Miller Gould, Lemonwire