E.C. Beats

Exploring the sound of local artists. This week: Caitlin McGarvey



Local musician Caitlin McGarvey along with bassist, Alex Vang, and drummer, Ben Peterson, performed their first set on stage together opening for Bri Murphy Saturday night at Volume One. McGarvey said she hopes to release her EP in March 2017, featuring instrumental backup from both Vang and Peterson.

Giving thoughts vocal meaning through the power of song.

Every word enriched with memories of the past and hopes for the future, local musician Caitlin McGarvey retraces her steps through her narrative verses accompanied by a haunting melody.

McGarvey said since she was a young girl, she confided in song as a medium to paint a lyrical picture of her feelings, whether they were positive or negative.

“It is a way for me to explore my emotions and forms of expression through something else,” McGarvey said. “That (music) was my chosen avenue.”

McGarvey moved to Eau Claire from Wausau in 2014 during her third year of college and as an up-and-coming artist she said she first got into the music scene by performing at open mic nights at The Plus. Taking a break from school, she continued to pursue her passion of songwriting, adding to her compilation of original works which she describes as indie-pop.

Beginning the recording process for her EP in December, McGarvey said she based her music on her journey through the grieving process from middle to end to post-relationship sentiments. She said each song was written to reflect how she felt, giving her a chance to get her thoughts out on paper.

Soon after she began recording, McGarvey said she reached out to Ben Peterson, drummer, and Alex Vang, bassist, whom she already knew through mutual friends and began “jamming” with them.

“It’s funny though, how we all met through music,” Peterson said. “A lot of times you meet someone and say ‘Oh you play music? Cool, me too,’ but for us it was the other way around.”

Writing pieces for an EP first, adding musicians throughout the recording process second and performing their first show with the EP release just around the corner, the band agreed their musical approach often doesn’t work out; but for them it has.

Peterson said the band’s roundabout way caused them to find a deeper connection as a group.

“It has been an interesting process,” Peterson said. “It’s been a little backwards, but it’s also been fun doing it that way. It’s made us a lot tighter as a group.”

The trio played their first show opening for Bri Murphy Saturday night at the Volume One Gallery. Because it was their first performance together, Peterson said they were not sure how the audience would react; but they were pleasantly surprised.

As the lights went down and she came out on stage, McGarvey said she was welcomed by the applauses and cheers of an audience composed of friends, family and community members.

“I just stepped out and everyone screamed,” McGarvey said with a smile. “And I was like, I’m just the opener guys.”

Finding inspiration in the community, the three musicians agreed having a big and supportive music scene in Eau Claire has pushed them to keep going, getting them to where they are today.

Vang said by working with a variety of other artists in Eau Claire throughout the years, he is excited to get the feedback he has been working so hard to receive.

“I have played music here for the last eight years,” Vang said. “And as excited as we are to get that positive response, it’s hard to get. I have spent a lot of time and a lot of effort trying to get noticed … and with this it just shot off like a rocket.”

Aside from the EP, the band said they have other songs in the works they would like to turn into a full album in the future. McGarvey said she hopes to take the band one step further and put together a tour through northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Next on her docket, McGarvey is scheduled to play solo Friday Feb. 17 at the Planned Parenthood Benefit Show. Until her EP release debut in March, find some of McGarvey’s music on YouTube, SoundCloud or aid her in her musical endeavors by visiting her GoFundMe page.