Stratford, Ontario’s Cat Clyde is coming in like a lion with her debut album, Ivory Castanets. Crisp blues find their revival as steel strings slap and reverberate along with Clyde’s deep-throated voice. Everything old becomes new again as swing collides with rock and even country takes on a new, intoxicating edge.
A recorder and producer by way of education, Clyde is a rural soul stuck in Southern Ontario. There’s no pretence here, and no indie charm, as she growls out the bops on “Running Water,” and surges into the final minute. Even the slowed-down “Like A Wave” is an even mix of confrontation and longing, Clyde’s confidence showing as she sings, “You will come/Oh, you will come back to me.”
A sharp riff takes over “Heavy Weight,” a nice nod to Clyde’s late introduction to some of rock and blues’ finest performers, the captivating solo a fair match for Clyde’s twang as the song weaves classic rock into classic country for a rich alternative.
“Oh when I find that mountain breeze/I know I will find peace,” she cries out on “The Man I Loved Blues,” a rolling number that fits more with visions of old train trips than any road journey Clyde could currently take—and makes running away, the old way, sound like the perfect escape.
It’s shades of “Come Together” (the Joe Cocker version) on “Move Along,” before “Chimes In The Night” dances its way through the album’s second slow number. It’s the softest Clyde gets in the ten tracks, as dreamy notes balance out the stinging finale on a blues/rock/country album sure to make you rethink any one of those genres.
Top Tracks: “The Man I Loved Blues”; “Move Along”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)