UK and Spain dates by Kacy & Clayton coming up20-02-2019
The opening verse of “White Butte Country”, one of many highlights on The Siren’s Song, alludes to getting by in rural Canada. “The hills of White Butte Country / Are a pleasant sight to see,” sings Clayton Linthicum, one half of Kacy & Clayton. “But the girls of White Butte Country / Got the same Grandpa as me”.
For all its jocular breeziness, it illustrates the sort of isolation that growing up in a remote outpost of southern Saskatchewan brings. Second cousins Clayton Linthicum and Kacy Anderson were raised in the Wood Mountain Uplands, surrounded by endless prairies and immense skies, their families descendants of ranchers who’d moved up from South Dakota. The nearest record store was a five-hour drive away. Opportunities were just as thin on the ground when they started performing together as teenagers. Aside from the odd night in a nearby tavern, Kacy & Clayton’s most regular gig was a Sunday evening slot at the local nursing home.
Naturally, this sense of seclusion tended to inform the music they gravitated towards, particularly agrarian folk and old-time country. Music was a way of deepening their ancestral connections, keeping alive the characters and stories passed down by family and neighbours. Such vivid documentation lent itself to the richness and tone of traditional folk, with its attendant themes of tragedy and loss, emotional betrayal and retribution. It’s no surprise, then, that the pair cite the works of Shirley Collins, Fairport Convention, Davy Graham and The Watersons as key touchstones.
2011’s home-recorded Kacy & Clayton featured a glut of folk and blues standards, while The Day Is Past & Gone, issued a couple of years later, mostly relied on similarly traditional fare. The big leap occurred in 2016 with New West debut Strange Country, dominated by luminous originals that joined the dots between Appalachian music, vintage Bakersfield twang and the Laurel Canyon folk revolution of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. It also showed that the pair weren’t averse to the occasional electric stomp.
Their last release The Siren’s Song scopes out that vision further. A cultured collision of agile folk and vivid psych-country, its sound is toughened by the addition of bass and drums. The album also benefits from the guiding presence of Jeff Tweedy, who offered to produce Kacy & Clayton after they’d supported Wilco in San Francisco in the autumn of 2016. At its core is Anderson’s deliciously languid voice, a thing of fluting purity, and the fingerpicked finesse of Linthicum’s guitar-playing.
At the end of this month Kacy & Clayton start touring the UK and Spain:
27/02: Winchester (UK) - The Railway Inn
28/02: Bristol (UK) - Mothers Ruin
01/03: Low Mill (UK) - The Band Room
02/03: London (UK) - The Victoria
03/03: Hebden Bridge (UK) - Trades Club
04/03: St Davids (UK) - City Hall
06/03: Bilbao (ESP) - Kafe Antzokia
07/03: Zaragoza (ESP) - Rock & Blues
08/03: Lleida (ESP) - MUD Festival
09/03: Madrid (ESP) - Cafe Berlin
10/03: Valencia (ESP) - Loco Club