There’s an air of rural simplicity about Cat Clyde, but don’t be fooled; her music is full of intelligence and depth. She’s a 24-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter who flirts with blues, jazz and folk without being bound by the shackles of categorisation. The combination of Cat with multi-instrumentalist Patrick Fockler is a match made in music heaven. Her debut album Ivory Castanets takes you from the comfort of a meadow, along the railroad tracks and onto the hustle and bustle of a western saloon.
When we made ‘The Meadow’ our Track of the Week a few weeks ago, we did so with a certain anticipation. This artist was something different. My reaction was probably similar to that of Pharrell’s when he first heard Maggie Rogers‘ ‘Alaska’. Much like Maggie, Cat is doing her own thing and it’s totally spellbinding.
Ivory Castanets is a remarkable debut.
The slide guitar of ‘Sheets of Green’ and ‘Mama Said’ evoke images of a chilled evening sat around a campfire. However, Clyde doesn’t stagnate and hang around out in the open. She is soon blending seamlessly into the surroundings of a jazz club on ‘Running Water’. Her captivating scat singing has a tonality similar to Paloma Faith.
The country blues vibe of ‘The Man I Loved Blues’ displays yet another string of her multi-genre bow. Her vocal range allows her to shape and mould her voice to the style she’s accompanying. Most importantly these are genres which an artist like Cat can help lift and keep relevant in the modern musical landscape.
The dreamy reverberating tones of ‘Chimes in the Night’ are soporific and offer something a little different yet again. As a conclusion to what is a breathtaking album, it works well and begs the question whether any further production flourishes would have served the album or dampened its effect. Ivory Castanets is a remarkable debut.
By Will Hunt
My favourite artist discovery so far this year
A mixture of folk, blues and jazz
Wonderful vocals and scintillating guitar parts
|1. Sheets of Green|
|2. The Meadow|
|3. Running Water|
|4. Like a Wave|
|5. Heavy Weight|
|6. Mama Said|
|7. The Man I Loved Blues|
|8. Move Along|
|9. Walkin’ Down the Road|
|10. Chimes in the Night|