Ex-Whiskeytown Principals Forge Ahead
Former Whiskeytown frontman Ryan Adams has captured major media attention since setting off on his own. Now, two of his former bandmates are pressing forward with their own solo projects. First up isFormer Whiskeytown frontman Ryan Adams has captured major media attention since setting off on his own. Now, two of his former bandmates are pressing forward with their own solo projects. First up is former Whiskeytown vocalist/fiddler/violinist Caitlin Cary's full-length solo debut, due Feb. 26 on Chapel Hill, N.C.-based indie Yep Roc.
The set, formerly known as "Ponyball," will be titled "While You Weren't Looking," and features collaborations between Cary and former Whiskeytown multi-instrumentalist Mike Daly, and Jayhawks/ex-Dag keyboardist Jen Gunderman. Chris Stamey produced, while Mitch Easter engineered basic tracks.
As Yep Roc did for its recently issued Los Straitjackets and Nick Lowe sets, "While You Weren't Looking" will be sold with an extra disc containing three bonus tracks. North Carolina-based Cary's extras include a previously unreleased version of the Whiskeytown song "The Battle," on which she duets with Adams. Last year, Yep Roc issued Cary's first solo recording, the "Waltzie" EP.
Meanwhile, Hoboken, N.J.-based Daly is working on his first solo set. He has already cut several tracks (two of which, "Leaving" and "In My Defense" feature Cary on backing vocals) for the album, which he is now shopping to labels. Daly says he hopes to have ex-Smashing Pumpkin James Iha (who guested on "Pneumonia," also co-writing one tune), Dave Bryson of the Counting Crows, and possibly members of the Pernice Brothers join him on the final recordings.
Daly says he got so many songs at this point that it's just a matter of choosing "which kids aren't going to get on the school bus," he says. "I just really want to make an album like [the Rolling Stones'] 'Beggars Banquet' or [the Beatles'] 'Revolver'... I don't want there to be any filler. I don't want there to be a boring part of the record."
In 1997, "Stranger's Almanac" (Outpost), Whiskeytown's second album and first for a major label, was released to critical acclaim. The set introduced roots and alt-country fans to Adams, a then-22-year-old phenom with an obvious songwriting gift. The band went on to build a cult-like status as it went through various incarnations because of inter-band turmoil; its third album, "Pneumonia" (Lost Highway), became the victim of a three-year delay triggered by the Universal/PolyGram merger.
As the band's label was shuttered, Adams folded the act and embarked on a solo career. "In a way, it's been so good for everybody to get away from something that was just a little too much too soon," Cary told Billboard.com prior to the May release of "Pneumonia." " I think if Whiskeytown had continued the way it was, it would have been much longer before everybody had these revelations about what they were actually capable of."
"The three main people -- me, Mike, and Ryan -- have all really grown a lot in the last year and a half," she continued. "And it's very rewarding for me to get to do my own stuff, and to finally have the confidence to do it."
Adds Daly, "I just hope that when people look back between Ryan's records, Caitlin's records, and my records that they'll be able to appreciate Whiskeytown as the fertile soil that it was, the fertile soil that we all grew out of."