Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Carbon Leaf to perform in SJC on June 24

Photo credit: David Johnson
This story was originally posted on the Orange County Register Web site on Monday, June 15, 2009.
One of modern rock's best bands is coming to San Juan Capistrano later this month.
Richmond, Virginia-based Carbon Leaf – on tour in support of the quintet's excellent 2009 album "Nothing Rhymes With Woman" – will headline a strong bill that also includes singer-songwriter Trevor Hall and a rare solo appearance by Joie Calio (of Dada fame) at the Coach House on June 24.
"It's a good venue and definitely a good spot to hit," said lead singer-song lyricist Barry Privett of Carbon Leaf returning to the Coach House. The band last performed at the venue in September 2006.
"When you play along California, you make either make the decision to play in L.A. and then San Diego, or you can really dig in a little bit more and hit the great spots in between and that's what we do. We want to hit as many places as we can and the Coach House is a great room, and we've been fortunate to have people show up and listen."
In addition to Privett (who also plays penny whistle, acoustic guitar and bagpipes), the band's lineup currently includes Terry Clark (guitar, vocals), Carter Gravatt (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Jason Neal (drums) and Jon Markel (bass).
Carbon Leaf's previous full-length disc "Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat" was this writer's top album of 2006, beating out strong releases by Bruce Springsteen, Keane and Neil Young that year. "Nothing Rhymes With Woman" (released by Vanguard Records last month) reaffirms the band's greatness.
Songs such as the shimmering "Lake of Silver Bells," blues-minded "Another Man's Woman," introspective "Miss Hollywood" and Celtic rocker "Pink" showcase a band that clearly has established a unique place for itself in the musical universe.
Fans of Toad the Wet Sprocket, early R.E.M. and the Young Dubliners will all find something to admire in a troupe that blends folk-rock, Americana, power-pop and modern indie styles together effortlessly.
"For me, this album is about really getting back to the foundation as to why we started out as a band and really examining why we do what we do," explained Privett in a phone interview on May 28, the morning after the band performed in New York City.
"A lot of the themes on the album explore the transition as you go through life – and life is more complicated (as you get older) – and how you retain those dreams and youthful spirit you had and still be able to allow yourself to grow and mature. And although your dreams perhaps alter as you go along, you learn that's OK."
Privett noted that although Carbon Leaf has undergone several personnel changes since the outfit was formed in the early 1990s, the artistic aim of the band has remained strong with a focus on songs that seamlessly explore a number of styles.
"The guys like to switch it off and Carter is a great multi-instrumentalist and the guys are very versed on different styles (of music)," Privett said.
"Our fan base really likes that about us that there are places for us to go and you're not watching a two-hour show where you're hearing the same thing over and over again. (And) It keeps us from getting bored. And I think the fact that the vocals kind of tie everything together gives it certain continuity within the different styles."
Privett said because of the countless number of concert choices that listeners have nowadays, Carbon Leaf is appreciative of the bond the band has with fans.
"The focus for us is creating that (musical) world and really focusing on our live show and our fan base because everything else that comes along whether it's licensing or radio – that's all great and definitely helps – but really at the end of the day it's got to be a one-on-one connection with people in the audience and that's going to be our life blood."

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