Caitlin Cary finds her voice

In a New York Daily News article last month, singer/fiddler Caitlin Cary had some unusually candid things to say about her former Whiskeytown bandmate Ryan Adams, whose latest solo album — the expertly pleasurable Gold — helped hurl him onto A-lists everywhere. (A recent People article showed him keeping company with Bob Dylan at a post-Oscars party.)

“He would get drunk and decide to throw a show and I was left on stage to [apologize] to the audience,” Cary told writer Jim Farber. “He always had some kind of punk logic to it that would kind of make sense. But I felt like the cleanup crew.”

With her debut full-length solo CD, While You Weren’t Looking (Yep Roc, 2002), the Raleigh-based Cary has crafted another kind of comeback — but this one is delivered via her icepick-precise singing and deliciously minor-key songwriting aesthetic.

If Gold is on fire, then Cary’s record smolders like a cigarette dropped on an antique sofa. With refreshing emotional intelligence, she avoids the confessional mode to tell such bittersweet stories as “What Will You Do?” (about a relationship that’s souring over one partner’s self-destruction).

In one of many noteworthy achievements, “Sorry” — which first appeared on Cary’s 2000 EP, Waltzie — manages to simultaneously be the album’s most oblique and immediate offering. “You are a jack o’ lantern/Who woke up on a bitter winter morn/With your skin soft and sallow/Your short season has now come and gone,” Cary mourns. She could be addressing a spurned lover, a wronged child or neither. The toll of loss is what’s clear.

Meanwhile, if justice prevails, While You Weren’t Looking should mark the onset of Cary’s season in the sun.

SHARE

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.