Cat Clyde Credit: Strummer Jasson

Stratford, Ontario, is famous for its long-running annual theater festival, which leans heavily on productions of Shakespeare. Singer-songwriter Cat Clyde has spent most of her life in and around Stratford, but you’d be hard-pressed to call her rootsy music theatrical, despite her poet’s knack for enveloping listeners in her stories—her primary influences belong on the stages at the Cotton Club and the Grand Ole Opry, not at the Globe Theatre. Clyde’s debut album, 2017’s Ivory Castanets, mixes vintage country, blues, jazz, and rockabilly, all shaped by her commercial-grade indie-pop sensibility and given a smoky aura informed by her travels to New Orleans and its rural surroundings. On her new second album, Hunter’s Trance, she steps outside the sum of her influences into a sharpened artistic identity of her own. Like its predecessor, Hunter’s Trance showcases an array of moods: on the grooving “So Heavy,” she questions her optimism about a relationship, and on the folky ballad “Rock & Stone,” which swells with acoustic guitars and minimalist drums, she confronts a former lover whose indifference has caused her heartache. But Clyde is at her best when she revels in her strength; on “Not Like You,” she vocally dances between flitting melodies and triumphant croons while embracing her independence and celebrating her misfit tendencies.   v