I was able to hit the Rams Head in Annapolis twice this weekend to see a great Virginia band, Carbon Leaf. Their music is rock, folk, bluegrass, Celtic-ish. I know that’s not a helpful description, but it’s precisely what they are. It’s this musical split personality that makes their shows and CDs interesting and fresh enough to make me want to see them twice in three days.
I first heard them open for a David Gray concert a couple of years ago, and I’ve followed them ever since. I remember that they told the crowd of thousands to find one person in each group to buy their CD and copy it for all of their friends. They said that they would earn their money doing what they loved–performing–and we could all share in their music for free. Naturally, we all bought our own copies to support musicians with such great attitudes. (Though, I haven’t heard them say that since they signed with a label. 🙂 )
In 2002 they won the Coca-Cola New Music Award for their song The Boxer, and became the first unsigned band to ever play at the American Music Awards. They’ve since signed with a record label with an indie soul, have put out new CDs every couple of years, and have just earned the honor of playing several songs on the Curious George 2 soundtrack. (Just think of what that did for Jack Johnson’s career.)
What’s beautiful about Carbon Leaf is that they are entirely original and unmanufactured. They write and perform all of their own music, and the lyrics are fresh, unique, and laced with metaphor. Their songs elicit strong feelings because they hit on real emotions, battles, struggles, and joys. After I listen to them, I’m inspired in my own writing.
My Favorite Carbon Leaf songs:
One Prairie Outpost
Gray Sky Eyes
Under the Wire
Learn to Fly
Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat