The holidays seemed like a good time to catch up on some of the discs that slipped through the cracks earlier this year and one of these was the debut disc by Brooklyn singer/songwriter/blogger Chantilly, Caught Light.
I got a huge kick over a rant on Chantilly’s blog about the term singer/songwriter: “anytime you mention the words "singer" and "songwriter" in the same sentence, people automatically raise a leery eyebrow and assume some stereotype of beatniks singing self-indulgent lyrics in a coffeehouse. if you're a girl and play guitar, there's usually some variation of ani difranco involved, as well.” With this in mind, perhaps a little clarification is in order – Chantilly is a singer/songwriter in the spirit of Shawn Colvin and Jenny Owen Youngs (and not the self-indulgent nonsense that I’ve seen at Sidewalk Cafe).
The nine tracks on Chantilly’s debut disc run 32 minutes and, while Chantilly’s vocals are the focal point of each of the songs, the disc stays fresh through Chantilly’s different vocal styles which are backstopped by a variety of carefully arranged instrumentation, that includes strings, piano and hand-claps. Chantilly’s vocals range from the ethereal (“Birthday Wish”) to a soaring crescendo (“Flowing Ice”) and she even utilizes an “alt-country” bluesy twang on “Springtime Travels”. Her lyrics touch on different aspects of the human condition but, outside of “An Affair”, never seem to get into the semi-confessional Ani Difranco territory. The disc ends on a high note with "Springtime Travels" which is a joyful “campfire” style tune complete with handclaps. The song charmingly seems to break down at the very end and the track fades out with a laughing voice saying “That’s a wrap then”.
Chantilly's first album “caught light” was recorded by friend Danielle DePalma, on the heels of graduating from the esteemed Purchase College music conservatory. It was followed up by a quick little Northeastern tour, as well as some slow-building praise from key music blogs. Since then, she has been plodding away at gaining a following through hard work and word of mouth.Chantilly just concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign which will fund the recording of her second album. For more details, see the video below:
– from Chantilly’s web site