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Cautious Clay’s ‘Ohio’ takes you to another place and time

Every Monday, Add of the Week unveils all the new songs going into the 88Nine on-air playlist, with one hand-picked selection put in the spotlight by a member of our music team.

Joshua Karpeh (Cautious Clay’s “real” name) is the main character in his newest song, “Ohio,” which sees Cautious going nostalgically inward for better or worse — revisiting all the memories, experiences and feels of his hometown of Cleveland.

Growing up as Joshua, he was surrounded and buoyed by the sounds of his parents’ musical tastes (classic R&B and jazz) and his own musical experiences: playing in school jazz bands, as well as jazz and rock groups as a young adult in his hometown. The accompanying music video gives way to more of the general environment he experienced as an Ohioan, showing him trekking through industrial-meets-countrified areas, full of a lonely, mundane beauty.

On “Ohio,” Cautious not only goes back to his literal Ohio roots, but also to those sonic roots he absorbed, turning out a smooth, layered ’70s groove that leans heavily on funky bass and atmospheric synth, embellished by a proper flute solo. Cautious’ voice is both nostalgia-laden and resigned, touching on his early experiences but with a mind open to growth and movement.

He may have one foot back home in the Heartland, but he’s ready to roll, on, using his experiences to anchor him:

I took a stroll through the highlands
Took a chance on the mindless
Minding my own feet
Hands on the steering wheel of lives
Throwing me out, throwing me up
Coughing it out like it’s cinnamon

“Ohio” also marks the first release for Cautious under the Blue Note label and signals a full-length debut ready for release later this year. You can listen to the track here and on 88Nine by tuning your FM dial in Milwaukee or streaming worldwide on our website and mobile app.

This week’s other adds

  • Remi Wolf, “Prescription”
  • Blur, “The Narcissist”
  • 26fix, “Stone Killer”
  • Benny Sings (feat. Remi Wolf), “Pyjamas”
88Nine Music Director | Radio Milwaukee