“Some folks are easygoing, dependable ‘dogs’ and some are aloof, unavailable ‘cats,’” says singer-songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill, relaying the conversation she had with a friend returning to the dating scene that inspired her new song and subsequent video for “I Like Cats/You Like Dogs.”
The track appears on Berryhill’s recently released The Adventurist, her first album in a decade and since the loss of her husband, Crawdaddy founder Paul Williams, who suffered from dementia for nine years before passing away in 2013.
Written and recorded over the past five years and partly funded by a Kickstarter campaign, The Adventurist is a song cycle centered on Berryhill’s love for Williams and their early courtship.
Did your husband ever get the chance to hear any of The Adventurist’s songs?
“In 2009, Paul was moved into a nursing home and I began writing these songs around 2011. I’d visit him in the nursing home and sometimes bring him home and play him the new songs. One of the first songs I wrote from the song cycle was ‘Thanks Again.’ I played that for him and he said, ‘Oh, that’s powerful.’ He was a rock critic to the end.”
How did you decide on “anti-folk” to describe your early sound?
“‘Anti-folk’ came about because ten of us in New York found one another at the Folk City open-mic night. We were equally influenced by punk rock and folk music. I came up with the name — there was an L.A. club called Anti Club and it came from that — and we assaulted any venue we could with our punk-folk attitude and songs. I consider anti-folk to be a state of mind. It lives on in the young people who keep discovering our original scene and carrying it forward. It’s a big deal these days in the U.K. and Europe.”
You filmed your video for “I Like Cats/You Like Dogs” at the Casbah with John Doe, Dave Alvin and Steve Poltz. How did that group come together?
“I noticed that a few of my musician friends were coming to town at the time of the filming, so I asked if they’d be up for playing out some ‘bad date’ scenarios."