The Small Ponds played last night at the Pour House, at the “Rebuilding Raleigh” benefit for the Raleigh Red Cross. (Public service announcement, there are a couple more tornado recovery benefit shows ahead: one tonight, and another one at the Raleigh Amphitheater next week.) Having thankfully, and narrowly, escaped harm from the tornado, I’m extremely happy to shell out a little cash for those who didn’t fare so well. And the music is something to write home about.
There were several bands playing last night. I hard part of BJ Barham’s set; it was a little old-school Sprinsteen-esque, in that great sing-me-a-story way. Favorite line, which I had to write down immediately: “Every girl in this bar looks like nineteen sixty-five, with their sailor tattoos and their flickering eyes.” I think I walked in on “Carolina, I’m Coming Home,” and I was sold from the beginning. I also caught Kenny Roby’s set, which was great singer/songwriter inspiration.
I really came to hear the Small Ponds, though. Lately Caitlin Cary’s name seems to be everywhere. She sang on one of Yarn’s albums, because they were talking onstage about how much they loved working with her. She’s got an unbelievable voice; she goes from quiet angelic harmonies to gritty blues seamlessly. And she plays the fiddle. I love people who play the fiddle. I thought I knew what to expect from the show; I didn’t. The music was great, which didn’t surprise me. I was caught off guard, though, by the songwriting and the Matt Douglas/Caitlin Cary combo. Most of their songs were love songs, in one way or another; as they said in some interview I saw along the way, if there are two people involved in a love story, it’s interesting to have both of them telling it at the same time. There was also humor, and quirkiness, and one song they called their band’s “Sex Romp.” It’s pretty sultry. (That one’s at minute 5:45 on this video. It’s worth a listen.) There was another song, when they hit the lyric “loneliness will be your one true love,” that stopped me in my tracks.
They’re playing again June 3 at the Raleigh Amphitheater and July 9 at Motorco. This will tide you over until you can get there:
“Something Stupid“. I freakin’ love this.