Cat Clyde’s debut ‘Ivory Castanets’ offers a fresh new sound everyone should hear


Photo from Cat Clyde Music, used with permission under fair use.

Cat Clyde shares a timeless, bluesy sound with her debut album, the 10-track “Ivory Castanets.” Originating from Ontario, Canada and only 24 years old, she captures bluesy pain and nostalgia that only so few can do.

I first heard Cat Clyde while viewing a surfing video titled “Thankful,” posted by surfer Kelly Slater on YouTube. I immediately fell in love with the opening slide guitar of her most popular song, “Mama Said,” and was amazed by her strong voice and unique sound. Clyde sounded very sorrowful, yet reminiscent, as she sings the lyrics, “I think about it all the time” several times throughout the song. While the song played on, I was pulled further into her melancholic and hypnotic voice, and I realized my thoughts were drifting to events that had happened several years ago. In addition, I did find it very interesting that the twangy slide guitar solo and slow beat could also make me feel like I was surfing a wave in Santa Cruz without a care in the world: a completely opposite feeling.

Another song of Cat Clyde’s that I really fell in love was “The Meadow.” I was immediately fascinated by her overlapping vocal effects and the haunting melody. Clyde also experiments with a bluesy piano in this song, an addition that I thought worked very well with her tone of voice and overall sound. The lyrics are full of angst and struggle, as Clyde sings, “hoping heaven, hoping heaven will forgive him;” words that stuck in mind and stayed there.

Although I was very impressed with the album as a whole, one song of Clyde’s that did just not click with me was “Sheets of Green.” The opening guitar sounds beautiful, but then a country-sounding guitar comes in and ruins the entire mood. The song is gorgeous, but I was sad to hear her authentic blues sound being covered up by a ridiculous country melody. After the first five seconds of the song, I felt like I was transported to a cattle ranch in Oklahoma.

To compare her to another artist, Cat Clyde reminds me a bit of the Black Keys, another band that has blues as a main musical influence. Although the artists are similar, the Black Keys has more of an up-tempo, rock sound, whereas Clyde has a very smooth, twangy sound. Additionally, the vocals of Dan Auerbach (lead singer of the Black Keys) have a much more rough and raspy sound. Clyde’s voice has a sharp edge at times, but is overall very smooth and fresh, like drinking a cold glass of water on a summer’s day. But, nonetheless, both artists share similar influences, and I would recommend checking Cat Clyde out if you’re a fan of the Black Keys.

Overall, Cat Clyde is emerging as a powerful artist, paving the way for many artists with unique sounds. I am very impressed with the musical and artistic maturity of her debut album, as she is only 24 years old. She has amazing talent, and is definitely worth checking out!

“Ivory Castanets” can be found on iTunes, Soundcloud, YouTube, and Spotify.