Caitlin Canty is living the life of a troubadour and she’s loving every minute of it. I’ve been following her career for a couple of years now and have been impressed by her songcraft and musicianship. She’s got one foot in New England where her roots are and one foot wherever the next gig is.
Caitlin Canty is one of 24 Emerging Artists chosen for this year’s Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. The Emerging Artist showcase is always one of the highlights of the festival. The musicians are chosen by a three-member jury and are given the opportunity to perform two songs (not to exceed ten minutes). The audience votes for their favorites and three or four acts are asked to return to the main stage the following year.
You can learn a lot more about Caitlin by visiting her website.
Here’s a video of Caitlin performing “Southern Man” along with Jeffrey Foucault and Billy Conway.
Tell us about your latest recording, Reckless Skyline. I understand that you worked with Jeffrey Foucault. What was that like?
Magic. Couldn’t have asked for more.
I spent four days in the cavernous live room at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA with a band of heavy hitters. I’ve listened to the music these men make for years – JF’s Horse Latitudes, records by Cold Satellite, Ray LaMontagne’s Pariah Dogs, The Suitcase Junket – it was a thrill to spend days in a studio with them, and hear how they fired up my songs. We ended up cutting 19 songs in those four days. We had a blast and I think that live energy comes through in the recording. Reckless Skyline covers the ground between country ballads and straight-up rockers, dark blues and sparsely arranged folk.
I am so grateful to have worked with these beautiful, gritty, generous players who left it all on the field. As I wrote songs for the record, I could hear almost hear Billy Conway’s big beat, and Eric Heywood’s searing steel, Matt Lorenz and Jeff’s howling vocals, and Jeremy Moses Curtis’s thumping bass. Now when I write songs, these guys are ringing in my ears, loud and clear.
JF captained the whole deal – booking the players and location, even cooking for the band. He and I worked through approaches and arrangements as I sent him songs before the session, but left it pretty loose and alive in the studio. We’d take a couple of swings at a song and together we’d all chose the most exciting take.
I felt so good with this band I even wrote a song live while we were waiting for the tape to cue up. I started singing to myself and the band came flying in as if on cue. Magic.
I’d like to know more about your work with Peter Bradley Adams—the duo Down Like Silver?
Down Like Silver evolved as a side project with PBA – we’d co-written a suitcase full of songs and recorded demos in Peter’s Brooklyn apartment. Peter’s in Nashville now, so we record and release singles when we get together (just did, check out Light That Match. It’s a fun collaboration and we spend zero time on promotion or booking gigs or updating websites. We just write songs and record them. It’s a sweet relief and never a drag.
And you also worked with Darlingside on a record called Neon Streets! I bet you had a blast working with them.
Darlingside and I started playing music full time at the same time. They are like my brothers – we’ve grown up together. At the beginning, the boys all lived in a house in Hadley, MA and I would take a bus from NYC every month to play with them and record in their studio. I probably should’ve paid rent. We’re in a wedding band together. Harris tours with me as my sideman often and has been on every record or EP I’ve made. The Neon Streets EP is our first collaboration and a friendly relic of our evolving styles at that time.
You have worked at the TV series, “The Artists Den.” Did you have any interesting or inspirational moments while working on the show?
My first job out of college was working as the first and only employee of the Artists Den. I cut my teeth on the NYC music scene singing backing vocals and working by day to produce live shows for bands in alternative venues like warehouses, churches, and jewelry stores. We would create a beautiful night from scratch for the artist and fans. My favorite was my last show – Patty Griffin at Angel Orensanz synagogue in downtown Manhattan with a full band. She debuted her song “Up to the Mountain” and it hit me hard at the moment I was leaving my day job to start my own reckless life in music.
How much do you tour? Do you often travel solo? What’s it like traveling from city to city to city and not knowing what awaits you?
I am perpetually on tour. I haven’t completely unpacked for months. I often travel solo and collect my bandmates for various legs of tour. I usually play with at least one sideman. I also love good opening tours – particularly with Jeffrey Foucault and Billy Conway – they back me up on my opening set and I sing on their set. Whenever I play with The Stray Birds or Darlingside, there’s a good deal of sitting in across sets. Makes for a better show.
I love this road life. I’m not in an office. I’m making music that I feel I need to make and I’m sharing it with my friends. I spend my time with my guitars, kickass musicians, and in my old car exploring new parts of this country and meeting beautiful characters. I’d be hard pressed to find a better recipe than that.