Caitlyn Shadbolt is a very interesting Australian artist. The 25-year old Queensland country singer gained quite some fans competing at X-Factor, before she steadily built her artist career. Her album Stages has been released on 7th November 2020. Here is my review.
Caitlyn Shadbolt – About The Artist
Caitlyn Shadbolt was born on 4th October 1995 in Gympie, Queensland, a town some 160kms North of Brisbane. She had her first band already as a young teenager, but her breakthrough for sure has been the Australian edition of X-Factor, where she ended up fifth, being coached by Ronan Keating. This TV presence also shot her debut single Maps Out The Window to the top of the iTunes Country Singles Charts in her home country. She signed a record deal and released a self-titled debut EP in the same year, 2015. The EP peaked 50th in the Australian. After two more singles, it took Shadbolt until 2017, when she released her debut album Songs on my Sleeve (Austalian charts peak position #26) as well as a couple of singles. Stages is her second album.
Caitlyn Shadbolt – Stages – Track by Track
The ten track album lasts 31 minutes. Three songs, Bones, Porcelain and Edge of The Earth have been released as singles before the album.
1.Edge of the Earth
I’m runnin’ in the deep end, deep end, baby
Throw myself into whatever takes me home
And I’m standin’ on the edge of the earth
Who knows where I’m goin’, goin’?
All I know is that I’m all in, rollin’ down this road
And I’m standin’ on the edge of the earth
In case you did not know this track as one of Shadbolt’s singles, you likely enjoy this beginning of the album – a happy, well-sounding country pop one. Good, voice, well produced – no reason to criticize this one.
Two single releases within the first two songs – Stages starts on the safe side. Porcelain nicely connects to the first song – I simply love to listen to Shadbolt’s voice. Nice one, made in Australia.
3.Two Lost Lovers
So you can take me and take my lovin’
To a place we don’t need nothin’
We can stop to breathe or just keep runnin’
Yeah, you can have me, we’ll have each other
Take it easy, two lost lovers
With the same dream to keep on runnin’
Two Lost Lovers is definitely slower (and by the way: also longer) as the two songs before – but I would not declare the song to be a ballad. In some passages, Shadbolt’s vocals remind me of Vanessa Paradis – but the country music touch strongly reminds me that we are some decades later and in a different music market in here. Good one.
Oxygen is strongly knocking on the pop and mainstream door. The track has a lot of potential to become a nice radio track – if Aussie stations dare to allow artists with the “country music” label in their bio. Rather a song for the high heels than for the booties – but it is a good one. I enjoy it!
Bones has been the first single release taken from Stages. The song is playing with rhythmic elements – finally just what you would call a really nice country pop track. Feels a bit like summer – but it’s about get warm in Down Under now. Good track.
If there was some rhythm in this track and maybe some more volume in the voice, Blurry Vision could be a nice country pop track as well – but Caitlyn Shadbolt did a very different arrangement in here: the piano and her voice – that’s it. The result is a lovely ballad. Love it.
7.Everybody Like Me
Everybody Like Me might be too pop-ish for the country traditionalists, but it just is so present and energetic, that it just puts these two genres to one song in a wonderful way.
Your Lady is having a nice groove, again spreads a lot of happiness. Songs which make you smile are so key in these times. Good one!
It is hard to spot the country music elements in tracks like Square One. So, if you saw Caitlyn Shadbolt in X-Factor and just want to have some more country tunes from her, songs like that one might disappoint you. I feel it is just another really nice pop track. Well done.
I’m living my life in stages,
faces and once again
I’m spending my time on stages
in places I’ve never been
No place that I’d rather be
and seeing these people all in front of me
The album closes with the title track, which is an absolute beauty. Autobiographic, reflecting about Shadbolt’s life as an artist, but also about feeling best at home with her family. And, last but not least, the song is a beautiful country ballad. My favorite of the album.
Caitlyn Shadbolt – Stages – Spotify
Here is the Spotify widget to Stages:
Caitlyn Shadbolt – Stages – My View
Stages is another album which makes me feel that the Australian country music scene (and the music scene itself) just does not create the international focus it should have. Caitlyn Shadbolt performs lovely songs, which are sometimes more country, sometimes more pop music. The ten track collection Stages is definitely a nice and versatile listen with deep ballads as well as happy dance tracks. Some songs for everyone. Well done.
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