What a nice surprise. Caitlin Cary, best known as the only stable member of Ryan Adams’ Whiskeytown, has released a five-song taste of her talents, and the only complaint to be made is that it’s too damn short. Given the stormy persona and sound of Whiskeytown at times, the gentle strength of this record might come as a surprise. Built around Cary’s great vocal sense and hypnotic violin, this is more folk-based than her day job, but it’s as powerful as any feedback-drenched squall that Adams can unleash. Produced by Chris Stamey, the sound is warm and immediate, making you feel like she’s playing in your living room. Unlike so many of the “strumstrumstrum” females currently clogging the musical bandwidth, Cary sets out not to display her broken heart or angst ribbons, but rather to communicate emotions. She succeeds. “Rosemary Moore” paints a picture of life that makes the listener feel as if they might have met her once along the road, and the cover of Richard Thompson’s “Withered And Died” is a treated as a story of loss without regret. With the future of Whiskeytown in doubt, one can hope to hear more from Caitlin Cary. Because five songs ain’t enough.
Yep Roc Records, P.O. Box 4821, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-4821; http://www.yeproc.com