Colbie Caillat Offers A Positive Look At Heartbreak In Her Debut Solo Country Album, ‘Along The Way’
Calliat created her debut country album on her own terms.
Colbie Caillat; Photo By Patrick Tracy
Colbie Caillat is reigniting her passion for music and sharing a vulnerable look into the recent chapters of her life through her debut solo country album, Along The Way.
Out today, October 6, via Blue Jean Baby Records, the brand-new collection marks a milestone as it’s the two-time GRAMMY winner’s first full-length project since the 2016 release of The Malibu Sessions. Each of the 13 tracks were either co-written or penned solely by Caillat.
While discussing the album with Country Now, Caillat explained that it took quite a bit of time before she found the motivation to begin writing music solo again, after having endured some major shifts and challenges following her 2014 album, Gypsy Heart.
At the time, she had just made the move from her home in California to the bustling scenes of Nashville, TN, and started a country music band with her then-fiancé and their best friend. Then the pandemic struck, and everything seemed to turn upside down. Both her band and the relationship came to an end and although heartbreak was rearing its head, the songstress found herself left with the opportunity to start over.
“I started writing fall of 2020 and even though before that, I really didn’t plan on…I was so tired of music and just tired of stuff I wasn’t setting out to do it, but after like eight months of feeling all those things, I started writing about it, and it was really therapeutic,” Caillat explained.
Letting her emotions guide the music resulted in a collection of songs that follow the path of heartbreak, rediscovery, and self-empowerment. She went on to say that her approach wasn’t to focus on the negative, but instead, she aimed toward doing what she does best and highlighting all the good that came from her experiences.
“I thought it was really important to share the positive sides of the relationship, although you’re not with the person anymore, and all the things I’ve learned from it and how essential it was to be a part of my life, even though things end and things begin. That was the whole message,” she continued. “I really just was excited to share that with people for anyone who’s gone through that. There are breakup songs where you’re mad at the person, and this isn’t that. This is a different side of the end of something.”
Even Caillat’s approach to assembling this inspirational set of tracks was carefully orchestrated. Rather than sticking to the process she had used for albums in the past that involved writing as many songs as she could and constantly setting up sessions with a room full of unfamiliar songwriters, she decided to start creating music on her own terms.
“I had no interest in writing a ton of songs. I didn’t want to schedule a bunch of sessions. All of it gave me anxiety,” she admitted to Country Now. “So, I was like, I’m only going to write when I have something to say and I’m only going to write with the people that I feel comfortable writing with at this time in my life. And that’s what I did. I only wrote, I think it was 15 songs and we put 13 on the album. So it was just a deliberate, calm way of writing where I just wanted to say what needed to be said and nothing more.”
Throughout her career, Colbie Caillat has achieved great success, beginning with her debut album Coco, which features her fan favorites “Realize” and “Bubby.” In addition, she’s sold millions of albums and singles, has racked up over 15 billion streams, is the proud owner of two GRAMMY awards, and recently earned six new Platinum certifications.
The California native’s music has always been considered to be a part of the pop world, but now she’s stepping into a new era of her career as she begins to dive into the realm of country music with this album. Even though the label on Caillat’s sound is shifting, one thing that has not changed is her talent for acting as that breath of fresh air for her listeners and writing songs that are both raw and inspiring.
This is evident throughout each of the new tunes included on Along The Way, starting with the leading track “Wide Open.”
This dreamy tune, which is told from the perspective of finding freedom and hopefulness in moving on, is one of five songs that were shared in advance of the album. The other previously released tracks include “Still Gonna Miss You,” “Pretend,” “Worth It,” and her latest release, “I’ll Be Here,” featuring Sheryl Crow.
While listening to each of the new tracks, fans get a glimpse into the overarching themes and messages being portrayed throughout Along The Way.
“‘Worth It’ is the main undertone of the record. It’s about an end of a relationship but all the love that was there and really, it’s just an uplifting way of a breakup album because it’s a full-on breakup album. I think every song on it is like that,” she shared “It’s, for me, very optimistic, excited for what’s to come, love what happened in the past, and then ‘Wide Open’ is another sentiment of the record where I’m really okay now with whatever happens.”
She continued, “I think a lot of people can be this way, you think your life’s going to be a certain way, or it has to be this way, like I have to have this job, I have to be with this person, I need to have kids by this age, and life just, I’ve learned, doesn’t work that way. So I’m becoming really comfortable with what is, and whatever happens, I’m going to be comfortable with. And I feel like I’m more at ease with dating, with work, with myself, with living under that sentiment.”
Despite the fact that she didn’t grow up with country music, Caillat says she holds a true appreciation for the genre and felt as through leaning her sound in that direction felt like “a natural progression” of her evolving artistry.
“I’ve been coming to Nashville for probably 14 years, writing and making friends. I had friends here, and I was on a bunch of country duets with country artists so it really felt like it was something that was always a part of my life. Then living here, making friends in this town, living the lifestyle of Nashville…I always thought I was a California girl, I always thought I would move home, and now I’m like, wow, I didn’t know it, but I feel like I became more myself here. And loving country music, listening to it everywhere, loving the steel guitar and the dobro and all those elements of it, it just was something that I thought I wanted to include in my music.”
Luckily, many fans have stayed by Caillat’s side throughout each phase of her career, and between her latest set of music and getting back out on the road for solo shows, Colbie Caillat has found that she also has a whole new crop of fans falling in love with her heartfelt stories.
“Ultimately, I’m still writing the same way and writing about my own life experience and having very organic instrumentation and then adding in my favorite elements of country music. The fact that my fans are loving this stuff and saying it’s not even a far departure from what I’ve done…and I’m also gaining new country fans. It feels really, really good.”
Colbie Caillat will get to showcase her new album, Along The Way, through a series of upcoming shows located in cities such as New York, Nashville, Fort Worth and more.
For a complete list of her upcoming tour dates, click HERE.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.