I went to college in the middle of nowhere, Virginia, at a woman’s college. Needless to say, when a band of handsome guys who played incredibly fun music were in the vicinity, I was there. Carbon Leaf is one of those local southern acts that I discovered while in college and boy-deprived. When first saw them in 98 or 99, they weren’t alltogether great, but some of their songs were excellent and their overall energy was just fun. Over the years, they’ve honed that potential into a real quality sound and their songwriting ability isn’t so much hit or miss as hit. The last time I saw them perform was last fall in Atlanta and I brought my parents with me to the concert. My dad is even more of an audiophile than I am, being a recording engineer and not just someone who grew up around recording engineers, and given that they were playing in a small venue, their sound was such that even my dad was impressed. But let’s face it, my whole family is one big sucker for Celtic music and rock n’ roll, and Carbon Leaf’s blend is usually pretty darn good.
The band also encourages sharing certain of their albums via mp3. You can go to their webpage [carbonleaf.com] and find a mass of songs for download. I’m just going to pimp one of my favorites here:
Actually, I lie. Better than a Carbon Leaf live show is a Jump, Little Children live show. Similarily “cursed” with a just plain clumsy name (Carbon Leaf is a little too neohippie, while JLC is named after a really awesome song, it’s long and easily confused), the band just changed their official title to what has been their nickname for a long time. They now go by just “Jump”. Which is a lot of what you do at a concert. These guys are just plain fun. At least half the time. The rest their come out with sweet, uncanny softer songs that utilize one of the best voices I’ve ever heard.
The song I’m posting of theirs is one you can’t buy on any album. I like that kind of sample, because then I get both a taste for the artist and don’t feel cheated when I buy the album and already have some of the songs. The reason Pink Lemonade isn’t published is because of the evils of copyright extension. Most old stuff ultimately goes into the public domain, but the keepers of You Are My Sunshine are very, well “greedy” and thanks to lobbying on the part of bigger copyright holders (like Disney and its mouse) they get to keep it. But you can’t have Pink without the Sunshine.
Jump, Little Children – Pink Lemonade
If you like Pink, the albums that reflect that sound best are their early Licorice Tea Demos and Buzz. Both are availible together in their Early Years compilation, as both albums are out of print. Magazine was probably their most well known release, featuring the ballad Cathedrals. Vertigo has some excellent songs, including some of my favorites, but is an exercise in bad recording. The mix is dull and bland. Their latest, Between The Dim And The Dark, on the other hand, is one of their finest recordings and is their best album, as opposed to a bunch of great songs in one place. Their sound has mellowed over the years, but deepened as it went.
I’ve always enjoyed them the best, still, as a live band. I’ve travelled states in the dead of night to see these guys and they’re one of the things I miss most about living down south. Thank goodness for the Live Music Archive and the dedicated people who record their concerts!