ne would be hard pressed to find a more eagerly awaited or hugely hyped indie release in 2002 than Caitlin Cary’s While You Weren’t Looking. Being a former member of Whiskeytown and band mate of eccentric but prolific tantrum-prone media darling/ whipping boy Grammy nominee Ryan Adams requires a performer to carry more baggage than a camel caravan. While You Weren’t Looking proves Cary can carry the load and then some. The spotlight is on and she proves she belongs right in the center of its brightest illumination.There’s no point in being coy or making vacuous, clever Whiskeytown comparisons. While You Weren’t Looking is an outstanding musical declaration of Cary’s independence. Its strengths are Cary’s highly literate and emotionally rich (in a brainy Richard Thompson way) songwriting and her intimate, pure voice. With primary backing by former Whiskeytowners Mike Daly (guitars), Mike Santoro (bass), Cary’s husband Skillet Gilmore (drums), former Jayhawk Jen Gunderman (keyboards), and a smorgasborg of the Raleigh-Durham area’s finest players (Brian Dennis, Andy Church, Chris Stamey, Greg Readling, Tony Lamm, Lynn Blakey, Mitch Easter), the music is rootsy but rocking, highly melodic and moody, frequently involving deft tempo changes and subtle shifts of emphasis. There is the occasional suggestive Irish lilt.