Photo Credit: David McClister
Nashville’s Caitlin Canty announces the March 30 release of Motel Bouquet on Tone Tree Music with the haunting “Take Me For A Ride”. The track debuted at American Songwriter, who says, “It’s a mesmerizing number, Canty’s low, incandescent vocals anchored by a gentle guitar twang and gossamer pedal steel.” Motel Bouquet is available for pre-order, along with a wide variety of exclusive items and bundles at PledgeMusic. Tour dates start March 17 in Santa Monica and extend through the spring. A full list of tour dates can be found below with more to be added.
Produced by Punch Brothers banjoist Noam Pikelny and featuring a band of some of Nashville’s finest musicians,Motel Bouquet is true American roots — ten original songs carving a line through spare folk, dark blues and country ballads that hold Caitlin’s darkly radiant voice in the spotlight. It’s an album written on the move — in airplanes, motels, backstage, and upon uprooting herself and leaving behind the hard concrete of New York City for the green edges of Nashville. Canty wrote these songs while looking back at loss, falling in love, and building a new life.
“I wrote ‘Take Me For A Ride‘ on a porch here in Nashville with Kristin Andreassen,” says Caitlin. “The song is a take on the frustration in circling back to a vice or a person that you’ve been trying to quit. It’s the very first song we cut in the studio and our first moment playing as a band together. It set the tone for the session, and felt like a natural opening track for the record.”
While the songs were written over years, the music was recorded live in a decisive three days in Nashville. Pikelny assembled a band of talented Nashvillians; Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Paul Kowert on bass, Jerry Roe on drums,Russ Pahl on pedal steel and Noam playing electric guitar and Banjo. They recorded live, with few takes and no overdubs. Aoife O’Donovan added harmony and Gabe Witcher played fiddle on a few songs as well.
“I spent some of my first nights in Nashville in the audience at The Station Inn,” explains Canty. “I heard Noam and Stuart play there, Russ Pahl and Paul Kowert in various projects. I was blown away by the fire and joy in their playing. When we walked into the studio on day one, some of us had played music together for years and others were just meeting that morning. That familiarity and newness fueled our three days in the studio and brought an ease and intensity to the music. There was no ego in the room. The songs fell into place, the music felt natural and alive. Singing and playing with this band made me fall in love with making records again.”
Since her last album, the well-received Reckless Skyline, Canty put thousands of miles on her songs, circling through the U.S. and Europe. She warmed up stages for The Milk Carton Kids and Gregory Alan Isakov and toured with longtime friends and collaborators Darlingside and Peter Bradley Adams, her bandmate in Down Like Silver. She won the Telluride Troubadour songwriting competition at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and her songs found a stride of their own, landing placements on the series House of Cards and Code Black. When NPR Music took a shine to her music, and her songs were featured on Here and Now, she found new fans coming out to her shows across the country.
“Caitlin Canty mixes a gritty side with aching ballads,” notes World Café and Acoustic Guitar says, “Canty’s songs have an elemental sound — reflecting the influence of such songwriters as Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Johnny Cash & Tom Petty.”
Canty’s dusky alto is equal parts elemental and painterly. She’s skilled at observing small details and using imagery to convey moments or moods. She doesn’t narrate, she sets scenes — and lets us determine what stories she might be telling, through elegantly simple lyrics couched in natural-world references.
Her lyrics can run like a spring stream, words cascading in the dark-eyed, “River Alone”: “Driving rain at night holds its breath under bridges / The road hisses as he slows to leave the highway / Streetlights shine on power lines / Rain hangs like diamonds / A necklace for a heavy sky on a windless night.”
In the darker passages of Motel Bouquet, the natural world can be sinister and overpowering. “Scattershot” paints a soul at the mercy of a storm as floodwaters rise; “First it’s filling up the wells / And it’s rolling through the streets of this town / Over the steps of the motel / Lightning tore the sky from the clouds / Now it’s rising to the rafters / Climbing up the steeple / Ringing all the bells / Ringing all the bells.”
In the string-soaked gem, “Who” she pares each word to the bone, singing, “Who put the moon in your cry / Who put the wind in your sigh / Who put the sun in your eye.” If there is sadness in her songs, it is a defiant sorrow. Where there is fire, Canty shows us the smoke curling from its embers.
There is a storm in these songs, along with the inevitable debris and sorrow that follows, but the heart of Motel Bouquet shines like light breaking through a window, day breaking night, love breaking sorrow. These songs are a handful of flowers that Caitlin grew herself and she’s holding them out to the listener.
Caitlin Canty Tour Dates
Mar 17 – Santa Monica, CA – McCabe’s Guitar Shop
Mar 18 – Berkeley, CA – Freight & Salvage
Mar 21 – Portland, OR – The Old Church Concert Hall
Mar 22 – Seattle, WA – Ballard Homestead
Apr 25 – Cambridge, MA – Club Passim
Apr 26 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2
Apr 27 – Northampton, MA – The Parlor Room
May 01 – Portland, ME – One Longfellow Square
May 18 – Oconomowoc, WI – Three Brothers Farm
May 19 – Oconomowoc, WI – Three Brothers Farm
May 23 – Evanston, IL – SPACE
May 24 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark