Fellow Canadians and folk music connoisseurs, Cat Clyde and Jeremie Albino, first met when Albino opened one of Clyde’s shows in Toronto. “When I heard his music, it really resonated with me, it made me feel a lot,” Clyde tells American Songwriter over the phone. The two bonded immediately over their similar artist influences ranging from Lightnin’ Hopkins and Michael Hurley, and felt an “instant beautiful connection.”
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Up until Albino’s debut record in 2019, Hard Time, he was a farmworker in Ontario— gigging music only occasionally. He grew up in the Toronto suburbs as a homeschooled student, so he launched into creative endeavors at a young age. It started with harmonica. His parents’ old record collection only fueled the fire as he quickly grew into guitar, banjo, and fiddle. Once he began to recognize the impact his music had on an audience, the artist’s priorities shifted.
Clyde—who released her sophomore album Hunters Trance in 2019—was raised in Perth County in the small village of Russeldale, also surrounded by nature. Her parents didn’t really listen to music, but she got her musical gene from her uncle, who was a folk guitarist, and a grandfather who was fluent on fiddle. As she got older Clyde discovered blues music, which intensely resonated, making her feel “less alone.”
“We decided very early on that we wanted to collaborate and make music together,” says Clyde. After swapping records, poring over each of their personal pioneers, the kindred spirits sought creative refuge at Albino’s country home in 2019—jamming, recording and listening to music, free from the bounds of everyday life.
After their sabbatical, life moved on, but the two couldn’t shake the lingering desire to complete the work they started that week. As touring musicians, that opportunity to expand on those early etchings didn’t arrive until 2020 when they were finally able to join forces during the pandemic-allotted “downtime” over the past year. Their pandemic silver lining is their forthcoming LP Blue Blue Blue, due out May 21 via Cinematic Music Group.
“There were some really special moments,” says Albino. “When I hear the music, it brings me back to that time when we recorded it. Clyde describes an “immense gratitude” to “live in a world where I can be in nature and make good music and food with one of my best friends.” She adds, “I’m really proud of the whole thing.”
Blue Blue Blue features two original songs—“Been Worryin’” and “Tried and Cried”— and seven covers of some of their favorite artists. Album opener, an adapted cover of Blind Willie McTell’s blues classic “You [Was] Born To Die” was one they recorded at the farm, kicking off the entire project.
On April 30, the friendly duo shares “Freight Train”—their second track off the album. The early 20th century tune sets the tone for the revered music traditions the two purvey throughout this project. Albino says, “Freight Train is a timeless song. Anyone who listens to Elizabeth Cotten or similarly styled work from the era resonates with this one.”
“Before the pandemic, I was feeling exhausted from touring constantly, and this collaboration helped me fall in love with music again and be excited about creating again,” says Clyde. Albino echoes her sentiment, adding, “It’s grounding. I always come away from our collaborations feeling revitalized, and reminded to trust my gut.”
Watch the video for “Freight Train” below, and pre-save Cat Clyde and Jeremie Albino’s collaborative album, Blue Blue Blue, before May 21.