Alt Country / Americana singer-songwriter Riley Catherall is back with his first release for 2021, 'Vacant Lot'. Straight off the back of the success of his previous single 'Leave Me Out to Dry', which gathered over 50,000 Spotify streams in its first month of release and received national airplay on stations including Triple M Country, Kix Country and Australian Country Radio, 'Vacant Lot' continues Catherall's innate ability to tug the heartstrings in a profound way.
'Vacant Lot' exists because of, or perhaps despite, a period of writer's block for Catherall. He says: "Vacant Lot was a song that came about after a big dry spell in my songwriting. I had just been through a monstrous breakup and had a lot of things to unpack about it all in the months after. Ushered along with the help of an empty apartment, it began a definitive theme for the rest of the songs I was to write for the album."
Having previously worked with Bill and Kasey Chambers, this single was recorded by Damian Cafarella at EOR Studios in Melbourne, ably backed by Catherall's band, whilst also enlisting the help of Lachlan Bryan on keyboards. Damian Cafarella has created an unfussy arrangement that lets the song breathe and allows the world-beaten lyrics to shine through. "Now you've moved out and the love's moved on, And I miss the moments when you're holding on…" Catherall sings, his heart as empty as a suburban shopping centre at midnight.
The video for 'Vacant Lot', was filmed by Ryan Hillam, who is also the guitarist in Catherall's band. "I worked once again with my guitarist Ryan, who shot and produced the Pray That I Won't Be Long video back in 2019," Catherall says. "We agreed on a low budget, B-grade short story involving myself and the band helping me move into a new house - only there wasn't a structure to move in to. It made for a fun day with lots of curious looks from the neighbours. Also, I believe, it partnered the solemn nature of the song with a rather tongue-in-cheek video."
Catherall explains the very clever video concept: "The concept came to me as I drove past an empty lot at the end of my street. I ran the idea past Ryan about the possibility of setting up a 'moving day' where we moved all my furniture from home into this vacant lot and set it up as though it were a house. We employed my band to help. Alex and Joel being the removalists, Gabrielle the interior designer, and then a cameo by Ryan as the TV repairman right at the end. I built a free-standing door, got my hands on a mailbox and we had a home."
Catherall's career has already seen him gather lots of enthusiastic praise and bold comparisons. Ear to The Ground Music wrote "Catherall's phrasing and overall writing reminds me of…Jason Isbell. His poetic Americana lyricism is a rare treat in the music scene today". Chris Jagger, at the Maverick Festival in the UK in 2019 was a little less circumspect but no less flattering: "A pleasure to watch. A f***ing virtuoso".
In the last few years Catherall has played many major festivals, including the Maverick Americana Festival in Suffolk, in the United Kingdom in 2019. He has toured as support with Lachlan Bryan and the Wildes, Hannah Aldridge and the Northern Folk. Catherall will be touring with powerhouse songstress Gretta Ziller as part of the Biggest Little Show in Town throughout March and April 2021.
'Vacant Lot' is a song that is set to further Riley Catherall's success, showcasing his talent of getting the listener to sing along while he breaks their heart. He is a powerful storyteller who is set to make 2021 a year of firsts in his career, and new starts in life.