Cait Leary: Nothing’s Enough

Paul Whyte

Cait Leary’s new EP album “Nothing’s Enough” is a mix of pop, jazz and folk yet she creates her own sound in that the songs have a feeling of being somehow from the past but indeed hold their own today. She has been described as a “hybrid” musician, not exactly falling into any particular genre, yet the catchiness of her sound gives it a certain sense of being pop. Leary comes from Eau Claire and has been actively playing music for years. She currently resides in Minneapolis and has teamed up with a talented line up of backing band members for the recording. One of the most stand out parts of the album is Leary’s vocals which are strong but in a down to earth kind of way. The musicianship and songwriting overall is certainly something that stands out.
With the first track “Wrong Religion” the listener is greeted with the snap of the drums played by Zach Brawford. This bluesy tune is held down by Leary’s vocals and rhythm guitar. The lead guitar by Zach Grusznski is well done but I have mixed feelings about when the lead guitar is constantly doing solos. It fits in very well in the song, but there are times to hold back and then release the finger work. A nice touch to the song is when the saxophone played by James Ignacio kicks in on the chorus. It seems there are at least couple of tracks of sax layered for depth. The bass and piano parts in the song are done by Evan Middlesworth. Middlesworth took on a large part of the recording process of the album; he recorded, mixed and co-produced it.
The song “Nothing’s Enough” brings out one of the things I really like about this album and that’s the backing vocals. The backing vocals come up in swells of effect saturated awesomeness. Presumably the vocals are by Leary since no other vocalists are credited.  
With the track “Gone Tomorrow,” it begins with finger picked guitar played by Leary. Again, the backing vocals accent the song very well. The name of the game with this song is pop, namely several lyrical and vocal hooks.
“On The Run” brings out more finger picking on guitar by Leary. The song is held down by the upbeat tempo of the bass and carries a general felling of cheerfulness although Leary’s lyrics imply some underlying hurt and resentment throughout a lot of the album. “Tell me I’m weak, tell I’m wrong, tell me I’m ready. I’ll give you fear, make you mine, show you I’m strong,” goes a part of the chorus. The saxophone once again adds a nice touch to this song. The percussion rides along with the flow of the song but rather than a snare in the beat it sounds like the percussion brings in the clicking of the drumsticks.
Leary ends off the album light with just her and her guitar with the track “Waiting for the Words.” The finger picking style is well done, it’s minimalistic in a way but the songwriting shines in this final track.
I had a chance to chat with Flip Arkulary, a Minnesotan musician and promoter who has worked with Leary. “Cait is a natural. She’s a huge underdog in Minnesota music. As a musician, next to Haley Bonar, she’s extremely determined,” stated Arkulary. Flip is mentioned in the liner notes for “Sketti Wrestling” on the album, I didn’t receive a clear answer on what that means.
Overall, Leary’s work on this album is certainly promising. “Nothing’s Enough” lays out solid songwriting, vocals, musicianship and recording. She is no doubt an up and coming artist in the region and is backed by a professional group and it shows. It seems likely that she will continue to pursue music, so expect to hear more from her.  
She will be playing at Thirsty Pagan Brewing in Superior on Saturday, February 23 with the group West of Aldine. The group recently won “best band” at the Beloit Film Festival. According to Arkulary, they will be backing Leary at her gig at the TPB. The show starts at 9 p.m.


Paul Whyte

A South Shore native and University of Wisconsin-Superior journalism graduate. Lifelong musician, and former open mic host. Passionate about the music scene and politics.

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