I’d been mulling around a piece in my head for a while now. There’s a lot of new music coming down the pike and I was of the mind, thinking I’d put them all together in one piece. There’s the upcoming New York Dolls Cause I Sez So produced by Todd Rundgren (who worked on their first album in 1973 ). I’ve been keeping an eye on a local group Killola, who opened for the Dolls at SxSW this year. Also, a new L.A. Guns release, although I’m not sure of the date on that. Keith Urban's Defying Gravity is out with some killer tunes on it (I'll have my review of that CD up soon.). Lots of great stuff to choose from, but I keep coming back to one new act, one new record, I’ve been waiting for over any other.
Like many others I discovered Caitlin & Will (C & W) last year on the Country Music Television (CMT) show Can You Duet (CYD). The music channel teamed up with the producers of American Idol to create a competition featuring a horse of a different color from most music related contests. CYD’s goal was to find the best unsigned country music duo in America. An added twist was that, should the esteemed judges (accomplished singer-songwriter Naomi Judd, vocal coach to the stars Brett Manning, and acclaimed songwriter Aimee Mayo) feel that there was a spark from a particular contestant, duets could be split up to form a brand new pair, sometimes both members but mostly just one. Such was the case with Caitlin Lynn and Will Snyder.
Right from the start, you could see an extra something special about Caitlin. She was cute, a bit sassy, and had a set of pipes that just wouldn’t quit. Will seemed to be a polar opposite… kinda quiet and unassuming but man, could he play guitar. I’ve seen a lot of incredible players in my life and he could easily take his place among them. Neither of their partners made the cut. Judge Naomi saw the possibilities and paired them up. She was so very right as the newly-formed Caitlin & Will won the contest.
I’m not sure if you realize the odds of that happening, just keep in mind that most players take years to gel into a cohesive act. These two had weeks and the added stress of performing live every week on TV. Their version of Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy” is very strong. They covered “Before He Cheats” and it’s powerful enough that if this song was in my repertoire I would take it out post haste. Subtle nuances were added in both songs to change them into boy/girl duets and those changes were staggering in my opinion. Check out C & W’s performances on CMT and you will see what I’m talking about. As I mentioned, the duet won the whole shebang, including a major label recording contract. That landed them a home with Columbia Nashville, part of the Sony Music Entertainment family.
It’s been a year now since the end of Can You Duet and during that time I’ve been keeping an eye (and ear) out for anything I could about the duo. I’d check out CMT for updates but by far and wide the best source has been Caitlin & Will’s MySpace profile. They have a live chat room there and a phone number to call up to join a mobile community that will have text and voice updates. The Pop Out Player has four tracks of the six up so you can preview most of their upcoming new self-titled digital release there.
It’s their MySpace Blog that is my favorite part of it all. It’s not just the usual record label mouthpiece for press releases. Don’t get me wrong, I like being able to read those information only blogs. At this point in the game though, Caitlin & Will are using their blogs to communicate with their fans in an up close and personal way. They write about the type of things most of us do, plain ol' day to day living. On top of that, C & W take you along for the ride as newcomers to the business. As someone who’s been in the music industry for a long time, it’s refreshing to read their inside take on this very exciting beginning of their careers. Theirs is not a boastful look-at-me-I’m-so-cool point of view, but a pinch-me-I-must-be dreaming, an I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me type of thing. It rings real and true, like talking to old friends.
I felt like I knew them well enough to ask them to elaborate a bit more about their life to date. I left it open as to what they wanted to talk about, just to see where it would take us. They sent me their answers separately and in the style of other couples meant to be, their thoughts took similar paths to the same end result.
First on Caitlin’s mind was about being in the studio and recording. During a conversation with her Uncle Sean, it seemed to hit her all at once: "The caliber of people that have had a hand in making this record is incredible. From the writers of the songs, to the background vocalists, producer and engineers, we have been given every tool, if you will, and the chance to make a successful and amazing album. We had the best of the best. Will and I couldn’t be more honored that those people CHOSE to work with us."
Earlier on, I mentioned the changes of something like Can You Duet coming along in a musician’s lifetime and how life-changing it can be. Caitlin touched upon that as well: "While Will and I will never accurately be able to explain how everything came to being, except with the mention of fate and God. We wouldn’t have it any other way. We know we are lucky to have one another and ride this crazy opportunity together."
As for Will, his thoughts were about doing something he’s always wanted to do: "I've wanted all my life to be able to do what I'm doing right now. Music has always been a big part of who I am. Now that Caitlin and I are with Columbia Records, it's just a dream come true. This duo wasn't what I had dreamed of in class growing up. It was making that album, and getting a record deal."
He also talked about recording and how CYD and CMT has affected his life: "Recording the album was so much fun, a lot of work and still one of the best parts so far. For me, winning Can You Duet was great, and something I will always be thankful for because of what it's done for Caitlin and I both. CMT has been nothing but great to Caitlin and I. We love those people for giving us a bridge to cross into a dream world. We just want to be able to do what we love, and make a living at it. CMT has helped us get there."
I’d say that everyone that’s had a hand in getting these two to where they are now deserves a pat on the back. The Caitlin & Will digital EP has been released and I’m diggin’ it. “Even Now” was originally slated to be their first single, you can see the video for it on CMT and YouTube. It’s a sweet duet about the regrets of a one time couple now separated and does a fine job of highlighting both of their voices.
Once radio folk heard “Address In The Stars” though, it was obvious the universal theme of losing someone you love struck a chord. The song was written by Caitlin Lynn and Aimee Mayo after the two met during CYD. “Address” is particularly personal and cathartic for the singer who lost her beloved Aunt Lisa to breast cancer in March, 2006. I get chills whenever I hear it. My personal fave? It’s a tie between “Leaves Of September” and “Dark Horse”. They are both have more of a rock edge with melodies that stick in my head beyond when I’m listening to either one.
Remember, you can go check out C & Ws MySpace profile and treat yourself to a listen or two to part of their first release. Amazon and iTunes are several of the places where you can purchase all six songs (separately or together) that are on their eponymous EP. It’s what I did so I’d something to hold me off until a full album of Caitlin & Will's music is released.Powered by Sidelines