Magazine, March 2002
Carl Cacho starts a fire with spark
By Charlene Arsenault
For a singer/songwriter
with a relatively low profile, Carl Cacho's tunes get around. Acoustic
heavyweights like Kevin So, Stephanie Corby, Jimmy LaFave, Jemima James
and Jack Hardy have all recorded Carl's songs or perform them in their
sets. In fact, on his new release, Spark, Cacho recorded five of the tunes
that have been adopted by others. "The oldest song on this disc is
five years old," says Cacho, "the newest is three months old."
from the sparsest of arrangements - Cacho and his acoustic - to full-blown
productions, such as with "Slip It Into Drive" and "Too
Hot To Touch." But mostly, his songs revolve around an acoustic and
his lyrics. Often they are Springsteen or Chapin- like haunting tales,
such as "Bordertown" and "That Belongs To You." Cacho's
picking ability lends itself well to bluegrass, country and blues, which
find their way to into "Home" and "The Devil In Me".
"Save Me A Seat," which ends the album, grew from a writing
assignment given to Cacho at the Martha's Vineyard singer/songwriter retreat
"I had to write about meeting Bill Monroe in heaven," says Cacho.
"He had just died. And so I wrote 'Save Me A Seat' and then Kevin
So heard it and started performing it right away." Ellis Paul was
kind enough to drop by and lend harmonies on the cut.
Cacho, who grew up in Queens, N.Y., discovered he could do this stuff
by accident back in the late '80s. He was 19 and had a revelation that
would define his life: There was actually a thriving subculture of people
writing and performing their own songs. Until then, Cacho listened to
his hippie mom's Joni Mitchell albums and worked out the parts of CSN
& Y tunes on his guitar. But a trip to Boston College to visit his
girlfriend changed his course.
"We went to Harvard Square," says Cacho, "and there was
this coffeehouse called the Nameless Coffeehouse. They were having a huge
contest of new Boston folk singers. One performer was Ellis Paul. That
was like his first gig ever. I bought his tape that night and I just fell
in love with his music. I went to see him play, and through him got into
this underground singer-songwriter circuit with John Gorka and others.
I never knew there was an avenue for [songwriting]. Just didn't know there
was a place for that. I thought that had died in the '60s, but lo and
behold, there it was."
After moving around, living in Long Island, Maine, Colorado and eventually
attending graduate school in Michigan, he headed to New England (Groveland,
N.H. [sic], to be specific) in '96 to pursue music full-time. In 1998,
he released his debut, Blue Around the Edges. Spark is the follow- up,
and Cacho says the improvement is apparent - particularly since he recorded
with Neale Eckstein, noted for running the Fox Run series in Metro West.
"The songs are a lot stronger," says Cacho. "I've gotten
better at telling a story. My production ideas are better. The musicianship
is more solid. Stylistically, it's based around the songs. I also didn't
have the time restraints this time."
to Carl Cacho's Reviews