The two met because it was fated. Or perhaps it was inevitable, since they both play music in the medium size town of Raleigh, North Carolina. But since destiny is, after all, inevitable, they spotted each other on their respective stages, were duly impressed, and they did meet. And because both of them make wonderful music, and because they’re a couple of smarties, they recognized the potential for beauty in alliance. The result is the fetching and forthright new music of The Small Ponds.
Caitlin Cary has played the violin and written songs since she was little, but fell into music as a life when she joined the seminal alt.country band Whiskeytown as it was forming in Raleigh, where she was a graduate student in writing at N.C. State. Since then, she has released four solo recordings, formed a reknowned all-girl super-group called Tres Chicas, and made No Depression Magazine’s top 20 of the decade list with Begonias, an album of duets with Thad Cockrell.
Matt Douglas’s training began with woodwind instruments, and he graduated as a contemporary music performance major from NYU. From there, he headed to Hungary on a Fulbright scholarship as a student of folk music traditions. It was there that he first picked up a guitar and began to write songs, which led to the formation of innovative pop ensemble The Proclivities, who recently released their second LP. Douglas has also lent his talents to the recordings of artists such as Josh Ritter, Erin McKeown, Mark Erelli, and Laura Cortese.
Today, The Small Ponds are eagerly poised to share their songs with a wider audience. New, fast friends, Cary and Douglas are busy creating delightful new music based around their combined talents and their penchants for clear-headed, clear-spoken lyrics, precise, knowing arrangements, wide-ranging, emotionally packed songs—all brought to life by a tender vocal interplay that may inspire new entries to the dictionary definition of “duet.”
“Douglas’ songwriting is ambitious and serene with each track probing love lost and redemption found. You get the sense he is wise beyond his years.”—Dan Reeves, Metro Magazine
“Cary emerged from the shadow of a boy-genius to create a career as a restless musical spirit who maintains a consistent degree of quality and emotional resonance in whatever setting she puts herself in.” –Michael McCall, Nashville Scene
“Caitlin Cary’s career has featured collaborations with Ryan Adams, Thad Cockrell, and, in the sublimely folk-rock- ing Tres Chicas, Lynn Blakey and Tonya Lamm. In all cases, Caitlin’s rich, versatile vocals have filled the role needed for the songs – ranging from feisty sparring partner to warm and tender love – with grace. Further, her presence has served to make each enterprise gel and ultimately soar. Consider her voice a force of nurture. Caitlin’s latest singing partner is the Proclivities Matt Douglas (himself no slouch in the rich and versatile vocals department), and with the pair out in front of a new outfit named The Small Ponds, the results are again perfect-fit glorious. All available evidence, whether it involves Caitlin and Matt juxtaposing the phrases “beating heart” and “bleeding heart” in hushed tones, indulging in gorgeous art-folk on “Horse on a Bus,” or letting loose their inner Joni Mitchells on “Strange Days,” points to the start of another beautiful musical friendship.” –Rick Cornell, writer for No Depression Magazine, The Independent, Oxford American Magazine
"For its debut show, new Raleigh songwriting duo The Small Ponds comes to The Pour House, the Moore Square club that played so prominently in its genesis. After a recommendation last fall from husband Skillet Gilmore, Caitlin Cary got off her bartending shift early to watch a set from Matt Douglas' mature pop/rock trio The Proclivities. "Sure enough, they blew me away," recalls Cary, a veteran of Whiskeytown and Tres Chicas and a venerable solo performer.
After meeting up to work on some collaborative songwriting, Cary asked Douglas to partner with him for Raleigh's annual post-Valentine's Day Love Hangover show, which showcases male/female duets on love songs both hopeful and jaded. The newly minted partnership plucked tunes from Lucinda Williams, Wilson Pickett and Tegan & Sara for that first gig. They've since worked together to complete each others' unfinished originals—songs that didn't fit with their main projects. "We've joked that we're each other's bridges," Cary says. "I've written a few for him. He's written a few for me. There's no lack of aesthetic trust, and that feels nice."