Caitlin Cary began playing violin when she was very young, but had let music lapse in favor of a creative-writing degree when she met Ryan Adams, who recruited her to play Emmylou Harris to his Gram Parsons in the band Whiskeytown. Her smoky alto had enough character to write its own story, though, and after the band's dissolution, Cary released her 2002 solo debut, While You Weren't Looking, to reviews strong enough to question who was the real talent in Whiskeytown. While working a similar roots vibe, Cary has flashed enough pop and rock acumen to escape easy categorization. Two years ago, she formed Tres Chicas with Chapel Hill, North Carolina, guitarists Lynn Blakey (Let's Active, The Glory Fountain) and Tonya Lamm (Hazeldine), which has kept her busy. Of course, Cary's never too busy for another collaboration -- this one with Thad Cockrell, who's since left Chapel Hill for Nashville. Cockrell's the son of a Baptist preacher, and his high-pitched tenor trails heartache like a bloodhound, wandering from lonesome ballads to bubbling Bakersfield country that harks back to Nashville's heyday. Cary and Cockrell's album, Begonias, is a nice synthesis of their two styles, and boasts some of the prettiest harmonies to come out this year.
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