Cleveland’s Cautious Clay was just named WXPN’s Artist To Watch for the month of November, and at today’s Free At Noon concert he showed the room why: he’s an artist with a husky, commanding voice and sublime storytelling skills in vein of Ahi and Citizen Cope.

Joined by guitarist Chris Kyle, Clay’s set glided from the catchy acoustic “Dying In The Subtlety” into “Roots,” a pensive acoustic bop about making a healthy break and cleaning house in life. The music and the message were captivating enough, and then Clay punctuated the song with a soaring and hopeful flute solo.

“Camp Anonymous” from Cautious Clay’s forthcoming Thin Ice on the Cake EP was a very poppy, almost in Taylor Swift way: an earworm with a rhythmic vocal cadence, it talking about navigating missed connection: “Misunderstood, I feel seen and not heard, the timing’s no good.” It intertwined smoothly with “Joshua Tree” from his first project Blood Type, a song about hesitance around love and intimacy.

Cautious Clay - "Wildfire" (Free At Noon Concert)

The second half of the set called to mind an even grander array of influences: “High-Risk Travel” channeled suave 70s folk in the vein of Paul Simon as Clay intoned “my heart is in two places”; on the song “Shook,” he meditated on desire with warmth, his D’Angelo-esque vibes sweeping into a stellar Spanish guitar solo; Clay’s flute returned again for a slick jazzy solo on “Puffer” from Thin Ice, and it brought down the house. Wrapping up on “Wildfire,” Clay once again returned to themes of love and connection, seeming cautious but ready to open up to the object of his affection.

Listen to the set below; Cautious Clay’s Thin Ice on the Cake is out November 18th.

Cautious Clay Free at Noon 11.04.2022
Cautious Clay - "Puffer" (Free At Noon Concert)
Cautious Clay
Free At Noon
  • Dying In the Subtlety
  • Roots
  • Camp Anonymous
  • Joshua Tree
  • High-Risk Travel
  • Shook
  • Puffer
  • Wildfire