Cat and the Queen is the living, breathing, and totally theatrical musical project of Toronto-based artist, Cat Montgomery.
Her latest album, Heart for a Ride, comes in two parts. The first is a wonderful journey into an ever expanding world of reverb, soaring vocals, and dropping beats. There’s also something reminiscent of 80’s and 90’s era Bowie, Madonna, and maybe even the Eurythmics. The second half of the album is more rock and roll and Montgomery is accompanied by her band, The Royals. Recorded live-off-the-floor with minimal overdubs, the vastly different style of the latter tracks somehow lends to the concept of the album, suggesting that experiences are adventures and even if they don’t always work out, the tangent might be good so take your heart for a ride.
For Montgomery, the process from songwriting to recording is often a long and twisting road with lots of experimentation.
“I’ve had a lot of songs bumming around for a while,” said Montgomery, “and I was really getting into Logic and beats and nerding out in that way, that’s what inspired the first side.” She then teamed up with Alex Gamble (Rheostatics, Alvvays) who mixed and mastered the album. “Troubling Eyes” is a particularly interesting track with a whistling intro and lyrics that play on the daily frustrations in the life of a server weaved together with not caring anymore. “I started off trying to write a love song and I just went sideways after 30 seconds into this other kind of song,” explained Montgomery.
“I’m not doing it for the reasons that maybe used to fuel me before. They’re just tired. I feel like in my late 20’s I was much more preoccupied with what age everybody was, you know, that meant I had to be some place at a certain time, and now I feel I’ve passed that line.”
There is definitely a certain freedom in getting a little older. There are also a lot of things to learn. According to Montgomery, “one thing that I’m not proud of is that there have been times in my life that I’ve been jealous of musicians and their success and where they are and that has kept me from exposing myself to their music because I feel ‘less than’. It’s so unfortunate, so I’m working on that.”
After some years of playing in the Toronto scene and playing alongside top Canadian acts, Montgomery has realized “there’s enough to go around. Everyone’s different, everyone’s got a different voice and it’s good to own that you sit at the table with every other musician. It’s what you bring.”
Cat Montgomery definitely brings it all to her live performances, enthusiastically punctuating each beat with a dance move of some kind. In between and sometimes during songs, she wields a sarcastic and ironic humour that keeps you glued to her every word.