SW Sounds: Cat Clyde

Folk singer Cat Clyde channels vintage soul and country on her latest record, Hunter's Trance.

Stratford-area artist takes on anxiety and isolation on latest album, 'Hunters Trance'

Stratford-area singer Cat Clyde wears her vintage soul, folk and country influences on her sleeve on her second album, Hunters Trance. (Supplied by Cat Clyde)

SW Sounds is a weekly feature that profiles a southwestern Ontario artist and their new music. Listen for it Mondays on Afternoon Drive between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on CBC Radio One. 

Cat Clyde grew up in Russeldale, a small town just west of Stratford. It's the kind of place where a child can spend most days immersed in the calm and quiet of nature.

But these days, she lives a much busier life. She's toured much of the world as an artist signed to the New York-based record label Cinematic Music Group — the lone folk/blues artist on a roster of glossy hip-hop stars like T-Pain and Cam'ron.

All that hard work is paying off. The buzz surrounding Clyde is steadily growing, largely on the strength of her sophomore album, Hunters Trance  a collection of songs steeped in the vintage soul, country and blues on which she was raised.

How would you describe your music to those who haven't heard it before? 

I feel like that can be a difficult question to answer because I don't really feel like I fit into a specific genre. I don't know, I just like to put the seasoning in the pot and see what happens, know what I mean?

In a lot of the stuff I've read about your music, people like to attach a 'retro' tag to it. That obviously doesn't tell the whole story of your music, but do you feel like that's an accurate description?

I like that because older music is something that really resonates with me. I primarily listen to older music, so there's definitely a vibe and a feeling to older music. So if people are feeling like I'm also creating that, then I think that's really awesome. I love that.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up just outside Stratford in a little town called Russeldale. I spent a lot of time outside in the country and nature was a big part of my life. I really like being out in nature. I feel like a lot of my writing has a lot of nature in it and I'm really inspired by anything nature-related. I feel very centred and creative when I'm in nature.

What's the strangest experience you've had in your career as a musician so far?

That's a good one. I don't think I've been asked that question. I guess one thing that pops into my head is I went to a show and these guys came in. They were really happy to see me, and they brought me a whole sheet of acid (LSD). I was flattered, but I definitely didn't do that. So that was pretty strange, I guess. (laughs)

What do you even do with a whole sheet of acid? I trust you notified the local authorities.

No, I thought maybe I should hide it somewhere because I felt kind of bad. But then I thought there is no way I'm ever going to do this, so I ended up just throwing it in the trash in a gas station. I hope the guy who gave me that isn't listening to this! I was really grateful...but uh, yeah. I didn't do it. (laughs)

Where did that even happen?

I think it was Ohio. Only in Ohio! 

Tell us about the song 'I Don't Belong Here'.

Generally, I don't really like to say exactly what my songs are about. When I hear a song, I put my own self into it, and sometimes I feel disappointed when I hear what the song is actually about. But generally, it's just about...I deal with a lot of anxiety, and crowds and spaces and cities can sometimes be overwhelming for me. I've always had this feeling like I don't belong where I am, especially in cities. I don't feel like I fit in in structured, 'city' settings. I really thrive and I'm really good in a more natural, 'nature' setting.

This interview was edited and condensed.

Have a listen to 'I Don't Belong Here' as part of Cat Clyde's SW Sounds profile:

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