"River Song" for instance, the album's first tune, is sung from the perspective of a woman who drowned while waiting on her beloved. The lyrics alone are sad, but Caitlin's high, haunting voice imbues them with a pleaful desperation that brings the character—this dead woman—back to life. It reminds me, with its plaintive sound, of the later works of Ralph Stanley and old tunes about the thin line between love and loss like "Katie Dear."
The rest of the album mixes original tunes and new arrangements of traditional folk songs. "The original compositions on the album are somewhat of an ode to my family and my childhood," said Caitlin, who was raised near the base of the Appalachian Trail and now lives in New York City. But even these new songs were, in part, inspired by older numbers.
"Like me, many of these traditional tunes 'grew up' in Appalachia," Caitlin explained, "And I feel deeply connected to them." She recorded these classics, like "Three Little Babes" and "Omie Wise," with reverence for the way they've traditionally been sung but also with an eye for innovation. She said that she was trying to "shine a new light on these historic folk songs."
Do you think Caitlin hit the mark? Please leave a comment below and let us know how you like her album, both the new tunes and the old.