It's been three years since Americana performer Caitlin Canty released her second album Reckless Skyline, which arrived a short two months before she relocated from New York City to Nashville. Since then, the Vermont native has spent the majority of her time touring the country and dealing with the drudgery that accompanies a long-distance move.
Canty penned the majority of songs on her forthcoming album Motel Bouquet in motels and green rooms, but she was able to co-write "Scattershot" with Kristin Andreassen (Uncle Earl) in rare a moment of downtime on Andreassen's porch after the traveling was over. Recorded live with an all-star cast of musicians including Aoife O'Donovan (Jerry Douglas, Jim Lauderdale) and Gabe Witcher (Punch Brothers), the ominous ballad evokes powerful weather, starting out as a slow lilt and building to a stormy ensemble of acoustic instruments, with Canty's soft voice gliding smoothly overhead. Hear it below.
Motel Bouquet, produced by the Punch Brothers' Noam Pikelny, will be released March 30th on Tone Tree Music.
Motel Bouquet is the first LP you've recorded since you moved to Nashville. How did living in Music City inform the album?
When I first moved to Nashville, it felt like finally landing in a place you just ache for, you know? I had already been here a couple times songwriting, and I had fallen in love with the place. This is definitely a Nashville record. We went in the studio for one day planning to record one song, but Noam had put a band together, and we ended up recording four songs and booking two more days. It was that kind of local, casual thing.
What's the story behind the storm in "Scattershot"?
The natural world is the heart of so many of my songs and my life, and that's usually a positive thing. In Vermont, where I was born and raised, you can smell the rain coming. But with this new environment in Nashville, I've gotten caught unaware a couple times. I was thinking about the metaphorical storm versus the real storm. Water doesn't follow the path you lay out for it, it has its own, and your choice is to stay or to go. The character in this story, spoiler alert, stays too long and can't get out.
With its nature imagery and transitional themes, do you consider this Motel Bouquet a concept album?
The concept for me is to write good songs, get good musicians in a room, record it live, and as long as you have these fantastic musicians who can turn on a dime, that's where the energy comes. With this record, for the first time, I felt like, "I love this so much, I could care less what anyone else feels about it.'"
"Scattershot" is probably the darkest song on the album. What made you want to release it as a single?
I have a minimalist tendency, and this song is the opposite of that. It grows, it's a full-band song and it feels like all hands on deck. I felt like there's this twin heart on the album between the "Motel," which is sunny, sort of the lighter side of the coin, and "Scattershot" is the storm that causes the suffering that makes you decide what to do. That makes it an important cornerstone of this record.