Music education drew them together and a love of songwriting, arranging and collaboration kept them going. Cave Women bring a polished and poignant approached to crafting their recordings and they are releasing a new EP at Shine Café on Thursday night.
Comprised of five women who met in the Sacramento State music department, the ladies of Cave Women call their songs compositions.
“We try to make it an arranged expanded piece,” explained Alicyn Yaffee, guitarist. “Rather than this little tune you can just sight read.”
These arrangements are built on one band member’s song. They all take turns writing, and the others come in and layer instruments, and then vocals. They all sing, so vocals play a central role in the creative process.
“We all sing, so it’s somewhat vocal centric,” said Casey Lipka, the band’s bassist. “We have a lot of four-part harmonies.”
All the band members enjoy jazz and singer-songwriter style pop-songs. The music takes on what’s been described as a jazz-pop sound.
“Our music is accessible because of the voices, but there are elements of improvisation - which makes it cool,” says Lipka.
Emily Messick plays the melodica, accordion, guitar and piano and wrote the title track off the upcoming EP, Second Chances. Both, Lipka and Yaffee say it’s their favorite song on the track.
“I love simplicity of the idea of the song, it’s never too late for a second chance in your life to do whatever you’d like to do,” Lipka said. “I love the layering of the voices we do and the harmonies.”
Yaffee says the song is really fun to play and she loves Messick’s voice.
Originally CAVE was an acronym of the core musicians’ names; Casey, Alicyn, Vanessa Cruz on drums and Emily. Vanessa moved away, but still comes backs for shows here and there. Along the way they picked up Kim Davis on flute, bari sax and vocals. They didn’t want to market CAVE as an acronym anymore because it didn’t really represent the lineup. So now they’re simply Cave Women.
On the band’s website they describe themselves as a “girl band.” When asked if this was important to their identity, Lipka said it was more of a response to the feedback she was getting from other people.
“Through playing in the past several years it’s something people always mention to us, for whatever reason people are surprised to see all women…,” she said.
But she said the fact that they’re all women isn’t intentional, it just happened.