As a founding member of the late, great Whiskeytown, singer Caitlin Cary is alt-country royalty... Following the band's breakup, she pursued her own muse in a series of eclectic solo releases. Here's a quick look at her work...
Caitlin Cary "Waltzie (EP)" (Yep Roc, 2000)
Caitlin Cary "While You Weren't Looking" (Yep Roc, 2002)
A surprising, poppy outing for Ms. Caitlin... As a Whiskeytowner, Cary had a tendency to be a bit shrieky -- here, she takes a smoother path, following in the footsteps of Mekons frontlady Sally Timms who moved out of her twangcore phase into mistier pop balladeering. Like Timms, Cary appears to be chasing the ghosts of June Tabor and Linda Thompson, and likewise, it suits her well. The songwriting is also an improvement over her country-themed Whiskeytown material; without the WTS baggage, Cary proves capable of crafting fairly smooth, haunting pop material. She even dabbles in Phil Spector-style Brill Building pop. All in all, a nice record, although longtime fans may be a bit mystified. The CD also comes (or came?) with a 4-song mini-CD with much country-er material, including an excellent duet with Ryan Adams. Good record, worth checking out.
Caitlin Cary "I'm Staying Out" (Yep Roc, 2003)
Cary delves even deeper into her pop muse, chasing the spectres of Linda Thompson and Natalie Merchant, and leaving the country stuff almost entirely behind. Ex-DB Chris Stamey produces and writes some of the material... Not totally my cup of tea, but you can see where she's going on this one. If you liked the general direction of her previous album, While You Weren't Looking, then you're probably gonna love this one!
Tres Chicas "Sweetwater" (Yep Rock, 2004)
An alt-gal supergroup of sorts, featuring Caitlin Cary, Lynn Blakey (from Glory Fountain), Caitlin Cary, and Hazeldine's Tonya Lamm, singin' a lot of three-part harmony and presenting some interesting material, with Chris Stamey producing and playing guitar... Signalling their influences, they cover an old George Jones tune and Lucinda Williams's "Am I Too Blue," a song which may carry too much history with it for others to tackle in a way that can add much to the mournful wallop Lucinda already infused into it. The overall vibe of this album is pretty folkie and soft; I kept expecting it to catch fire at some point, but it never really did... The three collaborators seemed to cede ground to one another, opting for a CSN-ish collective sound, rather than doing a round-robin your song, her song, now mine kind of thing. Which is fine; I'm sure there are plenty of Americana fans who will appreciate the change of pace and overall mellowness, although for me, personally, this disc never really gels.
Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell "Begonias" (Yep Roc, 2005)
Tres Chicas "Bloom, Red & The Ordinary Girl" (Yep Rock, 2006)
NC Music Love Army "We Are Not For Sale: Songs Of Protest" (2013)
Caitlin Cary, aghast at the retrograde politics of contemporary North Carolina, raises her voice in protest to redeem her home state from the ravages of union busting and voter restrictions... And here you thought topical folk music was a thing of the past!
Hick Music Index