All right, class, who can tell me which former member of the defunct Whiskeytown has released the most impressive solo album?
Yes, that's a matter of opinion. What's a little harder to debate is that Caitlin Cary, singer and fiddler from that groundbreaking, albeit short-lived Americana group, has given us a record much more in the spirit of the old outfit than has her more commercially successful ex-bandmate, Ryan Adams. Someday, stories will be written about Cary that'll never mention Adams.
Much like the Buffalo Springfield three decades earlier, Whiskeytown couldn't contain the talents of its members and burned out too soon. And, like the Springfield, it appears two major recording stars who will be around for a long time have risen from the ashes.
Cary, a native of Seville in Medina County, has come a long way since being a member of the Garden Weasels, a country cover band from her days as a student at the College of Wooster. Her critically acclaimed full-length debut, While You Weren't Looking, contains 11 songs (many co-written with another Whiskeytown graduate, guitarist Mike Daly) that carry the old band's banner far better than Adams and his rock-star persona. Like a good Americana girl, Cary's feet aren't stuck in any one identifiable genre. Folk is a primary source, but there's a noticeable British flavor, à la Pentangle, plus gentle rock and country that could remind one of a less corn-fed Gillian Welch or a less precious Mary Chapin Carpenter.