Singers record CD for 99

Many students take advantage of Winter Study by submitting a 99, which allows them to create their own project for the duration of the month. While the value of the resulting projects is often debated, this year one 99 proved to be noteworthy: “Song Canty.” A collaboration between Caitlin Canty ’04 and Jumi Song ’05, the project consisted of writing, singing and producing a CD together. Canty and Song decided to submit the proposal after participating in a similar class the previous winter study. “[When] I heard Jumi during the class and she heard me, we both liked each other immediately,” Canty said.

With the help of Phil Enock ’05, the two used the sparse but adequate recording studio in Baxter basement. By the end of January they had completed an 11-track CD. The style of the songs conjures up images of the next wave of female singer/songwriters. Yet to classify Song and Canty would be an injustice to their distinctive sound. Canty’s technique is rooted in the folk tradition, at times slipping in a note reminiscent of some country greats. Fittingly, she attributes her inspiration to artists such as Lucinda Williams and Johnny Cash. Song’s style is both similar and complementary; although her voice seems to lend itself to more of a pop feel, she never entirely loses the folk quality. She considers bands such as Weezer, Radiohead and Ben Folds to be her inspiration.

While some listeners tend to categorize singer/songwriters with folk singers, other listeners appear to view such artists as rebelling against mainstream MTV culture. Song and Canty are not particularly concerned about the connotations of the singer/songwriter categorization. “[There are worse] things than to be labeled,” Song said.

One of the disappointing aspects of the CD is that Song and Canty never join forces on individual songs; their collaboration took place behind the scenes, rather than in performance. Nonetheless, the connection between the two is readily apparent when listening to the tracks. I would also have liked to hear a greater range of content and subject matter, which was at times a little soft.

But in spite of such observations, heart and soul were clearly present. All in all, the CD is a fitting start for two talented artists. Both singer/songwriters hope to become professionals later in life. Canty takes a storybook journey with “Frog Song,” which references Robin Hood and Cinderella. The lyrics are inspiring, if not playful. In terms of lyrics, Canty is happiest with “Finders Keepers.” Song moves through her five tracks with remarkable grace and ease. “Is It a Sin” is a beautiful ballad that opens doors and questions the composition of the inner self. With any luck, the success of their first performance at Goodrich foreshadowed future successful performances.

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