Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell – Begonias

Music Reviews Caitlin Cary
Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell – Begonias

The next generation of the Gram/Emmylou collaboration sparkles

Looks like Caitlin Cary’s found her real Gram Parsons. Since she left whiner Ryan Adams and his band Whiskeytown just a few years ago, Cary has released a couple solo albums and last year’s impressive Sweetwater, by indie supergals Tres Chicas. Meanwhile, she and fellow North Carolinian Thad Cockrell have performed together and appeared on each other’s individual works. But never have their voices sounded as in tune as they do on these 11 gems.

Begonias opens on a high note—Cockrell’s angelic sobs trading verses with Cary’s husky Linda Thompson croon on the lilting country rocker “Two Different Things.” It just gets better from there, until, a quarter of the way through, the two voices are floating just south of Heaven on the dreamy “Please Break My Heart,” its sublime pedal steel and piano conjuring fuzzy images of a lonely ’50s diner that never really existed. From its spare acoustic ballads (“Whatever You Want”) to its full-on honky-tonk barnburners (“Party Time”), its story-songs (“Conversations About a Friend”) to its pensive spirituals (“Big House”), Begonias comes as close as anything ever has to the sweet heartbreak of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris’ early-’70s one-two punch, G.P. and Grievous Angel.

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