Listen Up: Wednesday, November 16, 2005
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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 & Thad Cockrell

Begonias (YepRoc Records)

By Tom Geddie

If there’s such a thing as slow, mood-setting make-out music for people who’ve been through the wars but still want warm and tender love in this hyper, do-it-now world, Thad Cockrell and Caitlin Cary’s Begonias lights the candles and chills the wine for 49 minutes and 35 seconds. The harmonies — Cockrell’s clear tenor and Cary’s mid-range alto, together with just enough soft Southern twang — are wearily near perfect.

“Warm & Tender Love” is, in fact, the c.d.’s hottest track. Originally a slow, soulful hit by Percy Sledge, this even-slower version becomes an aching plea for human warmth.

“Please Break My Heart,” which the two wrote together, was on Cary’s most recent solo c.d., I’m Staying Out. Here, it’s a duet that Ray Charles and Betty Carter could have recorded back in the early 1960s.

Cary is the gypsy of the duo. She first hit the national music scene as singer and fiddler for the influential alt-country band Whiskeytown. She locked her fiddle in the case for Begonias, which features acoustic and gentle electric guitars, steel guitar, percussion, bass, and a touch of keyboards.

Since then, she’s made a couple of solo albums. With Lynn Blakey of Glory Fountain and Tonya Lamm of Hazeldine, she’s also a part of Tres Chicas. Cockrell studied religion at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary — calling it “the most liberal education I’ve ever had” — and has also released a few solo records; the first, Stack of Dreams, was recorded in a single day. Together, the two musicians make beautiful music for a bittersweet world.


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