Worcester 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."

Spark burns 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 in '97.
"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."

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