Photo by Emily Quirk
Caitlin Anne Webster is a fascinating new face on the Nashville scene. It’s been a while since her 2015 solo EP “Black Moon,” however she has just released a double single of “Powhatan River Blues” and “Wait (On Love) with a full-length solo record in the works.” She is also a member of the band Nightingale Rodeo who are working on a new project as well.
For your listening and viewing pleasure, here’s the video for the new single that was inspired by a carefree day spent on the water with her sister. While set a style that fondly favors 60s folk, Webster’s music has a freshness that finds it a fitting home in modern Americana. Give her a listen and let these new songs spark your spirit.
You can see Caitlin at her single release show this Saturday November 16 at the American Legion Post 82 over on Gallatin Pike in East Nashville. Thank you, Caitlin, for your interesting answers to these usual questions.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I grew up in a small town in the Northeastern region of Maryland, near the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. I moved to Baltimore after high school, then Richmond, VA when I was 23. Then, Los Angeles for a while. I moved to Nashville last September from LA. I needed a change of pace and scenery, and I wanted a backyard. I also wanted to be able to see my folks more. But I still need to be in a music-centric city because if I wasn’t, I’d just be a recluse, writing songs and selling stuff on Etsy in a cabin someplace, which still doesn’t sound so bad some days. In all honesty, I’ve been blown away by the songwriters I’ve met in this city, and I’m really happy to be among so many people whose work and work ethic inspires me to push further. The cultural and musical history is palpable here, and I fell in love with it when I visited a few years ago. I stumbled into Fanny’s House of Music and picked up a Kalamazoo parlor guitar and played “Fever” by Peggy Lee and suddenly some older cat sat down next to me and started playing beautiful, tasteful accompaniment. That was approximately the moment I decided I could live here. It took me a few years and a break-up, but I made it.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
I am number five of eight children, five sisters and two brothers, so I didn’t buy new stuff so much as I inherited hand-me-downs and fell in love with doo-wop and Motown of the ’50s and ’60s on my carpool rides to school. Stuff like the Everly Brothers, The Fleetwoods and The Shangri-Las. There was also a lot of Sinead O’Connor, Peter Gabriel and Madonna in the early days because of my older sisters, and then there was Fugazi and Sonic Youth because of my older brother. So, I think I was a late bloomer in regard to actually buying albums. I think the first record I just had to have as a kid was Funky Divas by En Vogue. I don’t remember where or how I acquired it, but I wore it out and knew the words to every song. I loved and still do love R&B from all the decades, but girl groups like that and SWV and TLC and Brownstone really touched my young, early pre-tween heart. It was that and later punk and indie, and occasionally folk, that really got me through my adolescence.
The first record I can clearly recall buying with my own money, was probably There’s Nothing Wrong with Love by Built to Spill. That would’ve been at Bert’s records on Main Street in Newark, DE, which was the coolest, and is sadly, no longer there. It was a CD. The most recent record I bought was the self-titled Rickie Lee Jones album released in 1979. I bought it on vinyl from McKay’s.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
The first concert I saw was probably Sharon, Lois and Bram! But, the first show I chose to go to that made a huge impression on me was Fugazi. I was young, 12 or 13, and I was so excited to see them. They played a show at a big hall I think was on the U of D campus with my brothers-in-law, who played and still play in a band together, called Boy Sets Fire.
The last show I went to was probably a couple weekends ago at the American Legion Post 82. I heard Pat Reedy, Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay with a great band, and The Cowpokes too. I’m usually at shows several times a week but have been busy visiting with family and have been holed up here and there due to allergies or something of that ilk. Tonight, I’m going to see my friends The Traveling Ones play at The 5 Spot, will head to Honky Tonk Tuesdays at the Legion for a bit, and may even make Dee’s to see what my bud Andrew Sheppard is cooking up. It’s hard to choose, and they’re all in fairly close proximity, so hopefully, I’ll make all three. Maybe a bit ambitious, but we’ll see.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
I buy my coffee for home at Sip Cafe. They make delicious ice cream too, and it’s in my neighborhood, so it’s a no brainer. I like Dose in Riverside Village if I need a cafe to work in. For pizza, I like City House or the wood-fired pizza place in the middle of the Nashville Farmers Market (Bella Nashville Pizzeria). I like a thin, crisp, lightly charred, bubbly crust. They both nail it and they use fresh ingredients, which just taste better. City House makes its own mozzarella. I prefer to sit at the bar there, and I guess in general, there’s something more informal about cozying up to a bar. If we’re talking deep dish, I have no idea. I have not embarked on that journey yet.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Probably Gillian Welch’ s Time (The Revelator). That seems too easy. Picking favorites is apparently, not my strong suit, but she and Dave Rawlings are gods to me. That or Dolly Parton’s Hello, I’m Dolly. Some of the songs are just so dark and angry, and I like hearing that side of her. Her sense of humor, of right and wrong, and her ability to write from the female perspective with honesty and fierceness all come through in her first solo record. Also, the production is great. Fred Foster was instrumental in a lot of notable people’s careers, and this record helped get Porter Wagoner’s attention. From there, her career took off, but I love the honesty, the story-telling and the simplicity of that first record.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
My kitchen. I love to cook. If not that, Dino’s or Duke’s. Robert’s, if I’m downtown. They have the best onion rings. Babo is on my list of late-night spots to try too.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
That’s really tough because I have so many favorites already. So, I’ll just say the first few who come to mind: Tim Bolo, Sierra Ferrell, and Iain Micah Weigert.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
I like playing the Cobra. My friend Charlie Ann Davis runs a songwriters’ night there on Monday nights that is always killer. Dee’s is fun and is just a good vibe. I’ve played the American Legion Post 82 once before and am really looking forward to playing it again on November 16 for this release show. That’s definitely my favorite place to hear music, but I realize there’s still a whole world of venues I need to check out. I feel like I’m just getting started here, even though I’ve been here a year now.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
I’d like to see my friend Hannah Carr, whose stage name is Leggy Peggy, move here. Selfishly, because I love her, but also because I think she would do well here. Fortunately, my friend Andrew Sheppard, who is an amazing songwriter just moved here. So, little by little the community continues to grow.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
I have a project called Nightingale Rodeo with Iain Micah Weigert, who is an insanely talented guitar picker and songwriter. I plan to focus on that project for a while, and we are hoping to have a record out before we embark on a US tour in March 2020 with our friends Charlie Ann Davis and Kalob Griffin. I also want to record a full-length Caitlin Anne Webster record, but the Nightingale Rodeo project is going to shift to the forefront for the next little bit, following these releases. I also have aspirations of finishing a degree in Choral Conducting. I have an idea for a non-profit I have been wanting to get off the ground for a few years now. But I have also learned the hard way, that regularly playing shows, and touring, even part-time and being a university student, is not an easy balance to strike. The way I see it, university will be there any time I’m ready, but getting out on the road works a little differently, and for now, that’s the thing that’s calling louder.