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Monday, September 20, 2010

Caitlin Canty - Neon Streets

Caitlin Canty - Neon Streets
2010, Caitlin Canty

Vermont native and New York City resident Caitlin Canty spent a number of years singing backup and working the production booth before stepping to center stage. The resounding cry from crowds on New York's Indie scene has been "What took you so long?” Canty charms with a soothing delivery and intimately soulful voice, earning comparisons to Patty Griffin, Jack Johnson and Norah Jones. Canty recently released a collaborative EP, Neon Streets, with instrumental backing from string-rockers Darlingside. The album was co-produced by Darlingside and Canty, and is the first of four collaborative EPs in the works for Canty.

Neon Streets opens with "Halo", a declaration of independence of sorts based in cynicism about faith and a natural distrust of things than cannot be seen. Canty has crafted a gorgeous melody here and an almost anti-McLachlan arrangement steeped firmly in acoustic instruments that somehow reaches for the same ethereal sound. "Neon Streets" is a remarkably pragmatic tune about fears and common sense; failing to acknowledge threats until they threaten. You might call it an anthem for quiet bravado. Canty has a low-key, cool delivery that's as convincing as the lyrics here and a pleasant voice that wants to straddle the gap between an alto's depth and a soprano's grace.

Canty explores the existential angst born of the transition between youth and adulthood in "Shore", where opportunities abound and it’s never clear which doors are already closed. The song is reflective of a generational ambivalence born of broken dreams and fear of the future. "Thin Moon" uses the weak light of a waning moon as a parallel of a relationship guttering in the currents of two lives moving apart. Canty's depiction here is stark and haunting, laden with emotion and yet apart from it all at once. "Two Hands" is an ode to independence; to not needing someone else in your life to be fulfilled. It's a brilliant tune that's self affirming and highly melodic. Neon Streets closes with "Carried Away", hitting the essence of longing and beauty in a stark arrangement that's reminiscent of early Ani DiFranco.

Caitlin Canty impresses with Neon Streets. Her low-key approach belies an intensity that emanates from Canty like heat from a furnace. Canty's focus is piercing at times, a quality that should come through even more clearly in the live environment. Her ability to project that feel even in pre-recorded media is unusual. There's little doubt that Caitlin Canty has a future in music; it's more a question of getting the right opportunity. That being said, Canty isn't going to blow anyone away musically. It's simply not her style, but her quiet musical resolve will certainly turn some heads.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Caitlin Canty at or Streets is available from as a CD or Download.  The album is also available from iTunes.

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