Caitlin Anne Webster's voice was born for the blues. While her music ranges from country to blues to pop to some lovely hybrid of the three, there's a twang to her that gives each word an air of playful sadness that swells the heart.
Her debut EP, "Black Moon," includes five songs that only resemble one another in their honesty and self-examination. There are hints of Fiona Apple's brilliance and Jolie Holland's swagger, but Webster takes the sheen off and makes it all wholly her own. "I have lots of influences and listen to a broad range of styles, everything from Outkast to Lucinda Williams," says Webster. "I grew up idolizing Patsy Cline and Otis Redding. They're two of my favorite singers. There are so many, though. Wendy Rene, Wanda Jackson, Peggy Lee, Screamin' Jay Hawkins."
Each one of her songs feels like a lifeline to the lonely and the wandering. "I write songs and play music at least in part as a way of connecting with people," says Webster. "I believe people are basically all the same despite our differences and varying backgrounds, upbringing, etc. We've all experienced loss that felt inescapable, longing that felt like it couldn't be satisfied, and joy that can't be wrangled. I just want to share in those things with people and I hope folks feel a little less alone when they hear my songs."
A quote from Neil Young changed her songwriting process overnight. "Most of the time, I'm playing guitar and the chords or melody I'm messing with elicits a thought or feeling and I build on that," says Webster. "Sometimes I'm doing dishes or driving my car and words and melody come to me. I always try to follow the ideas as they come. I listened to an interview with Neil Young once where he mentioned the import of seeing where those ideas go when they come to you. It stuck with me. It was something I always tried to do, but hearing an artist I respect so much say that reinforced it for me. It's very rare that I sit down with the intent of writing on a specific theme. One exception is a recent protest song. I wrote it after Trump's 'locker room' speech got released. I was fired up and anxious about the election and the general climate of fear and misogyny Trump represents."
Those five songs from "Black Moon" will make you a fan of Caitlin Anne Webster. Her range is far and wide, with a voice that seems to resonate from somewhere beautiful and far away. Expect to see much more of her in the years to come.
Caitlin Anne Webster
Monday, Dec. 5, 6pm
The Open Door, 303 W Hood Ave. Sisters