Listen Up: Wednesday, August 6, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Caitlin Cary

I’m Staying Out (Yep Roc Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

Caitlin Cary

I’m Staying Out

(Yep Roc Records)

“So what is this, another one of those lesbian albums?” asked my Ani DiFranco-listening 18-year-old after seeing the title of this disc. Well no, not exactly. Formerly the other interesting thing (with Ryan Adams) about Whiskeytown, singer-violinist Caitlin Cary has crafted a second full-length of highly listenable country-pop that’s bound to go down well with the No Depression crowd and could even find favor with a more mainstream audience, if the Clear Channel gods are willing.

It’s no mystery why all these old power-popsters are now into the alt-country thang — it’s the songs, stupid. Produced by Chris Stamey, I’m Staying Out has the warmth and humanity of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Stones in the Road (lotsa copies of which are available now in used c.d. stores). Just check out “The Next One” or “I Want to Learn to Waltz With You.” It’s interesting to note, then, that Carpenter provides background vocal assistance on a couple of the tracks here. Coincidence?

Cary neatly straddles the fence between country and pop without the brassy rock affectations of someone like Shania Twain. In fact, with its Motown-via-Chapel Hill arrangement, “You Don’t Have to Hide” has the smell of a palpable hit. Cary’s songs deal mostly with broken relationships and wounded people — perfect for a world where grief and loss have become common currency. “Please Break My Heart” is a traditional country weeper that Patsy Cline might well have essayed, while “Cello Girl” ups the rock quotient a notch.

On the strength of this disc, I’d go so far as to say that if Caitlin Cary could piss off more politicos, she could be as big as the Dixie Chicks.


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