Cave Women
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Cave Women


Band Jazz Pop


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"Evolution of Sound"

The members of CAVE Women played together only a few months before recording their first EP—the idea at the time was to create a platform to get more gigs and get known around town.

Funny thing is that in the year since its release, says flutist Kim Davis, the band’s actually become just that: a band.

CAVE Women’s self-titled debut full-length album, set for a November 15, release, reflects that transformation.

“We’ve learned so much—[how] to be a performer,” Davis says. “We’ve figured out how to connect with each other and the audience. We’ve learned how to communicate ideas musically.”

Not that any of the band’s members, who vary in age from 21 to 28, would have been considered unseasoned before. Each is formally trained and each boasts an impressive résumé.

CAVE Women formed in 2011 when Casey Lipka (vocals, stand-up bass, mbira), Alicyn (vocals, guitar), Vanessa Cruz (drums) and Emily Messick (vocals, piano and accordion) bonded over a shared love for the jazz and folk singer Becca Stevens.

“We were totally inspired—she has an accordion in her group!” says Lipka.

The four debuted as CAVE Women (the name is an acronym of the first letter of each of their first names), playing a handful of jazz and folk covers during Ross Hammond’s weekly Nebraska Mondays series at Luna’s Café & Juice Bar.

Soon after, a friend of Lipka’s offered to record CAVE Women.

That’s when the band tapped Davis to join.

“We loved Kim’s compositions, and so we said, ’Let’s go record some original music,’” Lipka says.

The resulting eponymous five-song EP featured a songwriting credit for each member and, Lipka says,”ultimately brought us together.”

Of course, they’d long been following a similar path. Lipka, Yaffee, Cruz and Davis all met while studying music at Sacramento State University and all played regularly around town. Cruz, who studied at The New School in New York City, was also a fixture on the scene, performing with the likes of the Harley White Jr. Orchestra.

Now, with all five sharing songwriting duties, the quintet’s music reflects eclectic and esoteric influences. The variety of instruments makes for a sound tinged with classical, jazz and gypsy folk as well as African and Brazilian pop.

But while on paper it may seem as if it’s all over the map—globally, musically, thematically—the music’s nevertheless well-crafted and cohesive.

“In some respects, [songwriting] is really a challenge,” Davis says. “We do have different ideas and interpretations.”

The band takes an organic approach, she says.

“One of us writes a song … and we just play through it. The more you play it, the more you can figure out where things should go.”

For its new album, CAVE Women worked with local producer Pat Olguin, taking its time in the studio to create an experience decidedly more deliberate than the EP session.

Songs such as “Blizzard” and “Under Willow the Tree” reflect a seductive jazz-chanteuse ethos, while tracks such “Counting Sheep” and “With You” recall a swingy, sultry Astrud Gilberto bossa nova.

More time in the studio as well as more time logged as a band made for a fully realized sound, Lipka says.

“You can just imagine what can happen in a year,” she says. “We’ve all written new songs, we’ve played more than 50 shows—our cohesiveness as a group and our compositions have changed over time. It’s just a natural evolution.”
- SN&R

"Insight with Jeffrey Callison"

Cave Women Interview with Jeffrey Callison. - Capitol Public Radio

"Insight with Jeffrey Callison"

Cave Women Interview with Jeffrey Callison. - Capitol Public Radio

"Cave Women"

They are musical sophisticates with a knuckle-dragging name.

Cave Women, a jazz, folk and pop group composed of formally trained musicians in their 20s, derived the "Cave" part of the name from the first initials of original group members Casey Lipka, Alicyn Yaffee, Vanessa Cruz and Emily Messick.

Flutist Kim Davis joined the 18- month-old group a bit later than the others and became an integral part of its sound. But her initial missed the naming deadline.

"Mine is kind of in parentheses," Davis said with a smile.

Davis, 23, joined Cave Women bassist Lipka, 25, for an interview earlier this month at a Sacramento coffee house. The bandmates were in the midst of a busy December that included Davis' and Yaffee's graduations from California State University, Sacramento. The school is a nexus for Cave Women, which consists mostly of graduates of its music programs.

Davis, Lipka, drummer Cruz, 28, guitarist Yaffee, 21, and multi-instrumentalist Messick, 22, also are celebrating the release of Cave Women's self- titled debut album with a series of shows this month. The next is Saturday night at Sacramento International Airport, where Cave Women will perform as part of a holiday music series in Terminal B.

Jazz-based but laced with bossa nova and other pop influences, the CD contains gorgeous vocal harmonies and musically complex songs that reflect the player-composers' formal training yet remain highly accessible to pop fans.

"I feel like our music is approachable," Lipka said. "You have all the harmonies. There is a lot going on."

Cave Women's vocals and songwriting set the group apart, said Tom Monson, a respected Sacramento jazz drummer who has filled in with Cave Women when Cruz could not make a show.

"I don't know of any other band that is able to perform harmonies on that level – they sing at a very high level," Monson said. "Their compositions also are at a high level (in) the way they are able to use their jazz structures, and harmonies and chords usually associated with jazz, but in songs that have a verse and a chorus."

The group and the sound developed organically, Lipka and Davis said.

"Alicyn and I started playing as a duo," Lipka said. "And then later Vanessa came and started playing with us, and then Emily started coming."

All the women compose songs, and everyone but Cruz takes turns on lead vocals.

"Whoever brings in a song, they will sing lead on it, and we will do background harmonies," Davis said. "We kind of sit down and figure it all out together."

The group is "a melting pot of all these different styles, because we all have different influences," Davis said. "And it is fun to bring those together."

Having so many composers and lead singers, thankfully, does not equal too many cooks, Lipka said.

"It's really refreshing, actually," Lipka said. "You get a different take. … For Kim to bring in one of her compositions or for Alicyn to bring in one of her compositions, it is so different from the way I might think of coming in."

It helps that every group member reads music, Lipka and Davis said. But nobody is a snob about it.

During performances, "it's not like, 'Hello, we are Cave Women and we read music!' " Lipka said.

The "Women" part is not emphasized, either, Davis said. It's just how the group shaped up.

But there is a greater sense of ownership attached to the project than to other musical projects in which the busy musicians participate.

"There is more of a connection, I suppose, because these are our compositions," Lipka said.

"You spend so much time with the five of us," Davis said of Cave Women. "It really is like our baby.

Read more here: - Sacramento Bee


Still working on that hot first release.



CAVE WOMEN, an all girl band based out of Sacramento CA, are stepping out of the cave this fall to bring you their debut album. The band’s sound features lush four part harmonies and rich textures that include a combination of accordion, mbira, bass, flute, drums, and guitar. Drawing from diverse backgrounds, their music combines jazz, classical, folk, a cappella, gypsy, Brazilian, and African music. Their debut album was recorded, mixed and mastered with Pat Olguin, “a sound engineer who has received multi-platinum engineering credits and has a recent #1 Billboard credit for mixing and mastering CAKE’s hugely successful record “Showroom of Compassion”. Their upcoming album includes 9 tracks, all of which are written and performed by Cave Women.