CMAT – Aw, Shoot!

18th May 2024 · 2020s, 2024, Country, Music

Half a century ago CMAT could have been knocking ’em dead at the Grand Ol’ Opry with her big ballads – if only she’d been born in Nashville rather than Dublin. 

“I’m a sad country song of a woman,” sings CMAT, “Should do good for the brand but it doesn’t.” I’m not so sure about that.

When I first came across her, with her strangely spelt debut album If My Wife New I’d Be Dead, I was an instant fan of CMAT’s overwrought country balladeering.

Then I became a little less enthusiastic when she dialled down the country influence, like Taylor Swift before her, for her second album Crazymad, For Me.

Now she’s dialled it up again on her frankly MASSIVE new torch song, Aw, Shoot! And I love it.

CMAT recently told the backstory behind it: “So there I was, in Paris, France, in a rented flat. I was trying to write songs but it wasn’t going very well at all. I was drinking three bottles of wine a day (Cote du Provence) and I didn’t have any human contact for maybe two weeks, and I was going a little bit crazy, voices in my head etc etc.

“One evening there was a knock at the door. Who could it be?! I opened the door to find an American girl, who said the following: “Oh! You’re not my friend!” and then turned and walked away. Turns out she got the floors mixed-up, American system vs European flooring system. This was actually a seminal plot point in my favourite TV show Emily In Paris.

“And then? Well, I properly lost my mind. But on the bright side, I got a banger out of it!”

You can imagine her belting it out at the Grand Ol’ Opry in the Sixties, being enviously admired by Patsy and Tammy and Dolly and Loretta.

But of course Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson, who told everybody in an early tune that she was going to move to Nashville, was born half a century later, and not in the Smoky Mountains but Dublin.

And her lyrics are a little bit different from the usual confessional country fare: it’s hard to imagine Dolly singing “I put my jumper in the freezer just to find something to do.”

And that’s a big part of Ciara’s appeal, along with her supremely buoyant personality: not many artists would make a film of themselves gleefully stuffing their face with doughnuts, drooling as they describe how they are “filled with chocolate and deep fried in batter.”

But most of all, that voice!