Who’s Carbon Leaf may you ask?
I ran across them a few months ago when they were a featured artist on Audio Lunchbox. Audio Lunchbox is an online music store specializing in DRM-free audio, providing files in MP3 and OGG. The only security they use is the honesty of their customers. In exchange, the artist generally receives a bigger portion of the amount paid for each track. While I purchase plenty of songs from iTunes, if I’ve got the option of buying the same track on Audio Lunchbox I usually will. Seems better for everyone!
I previewed the songs on the new, featured album, “Indian Summer” and decided I liked enough tracks that I’d buy the whole CD. Usually when this is the case I’d just swing over to Best Buy or Electric Fetus and pick it up, since I usually only buy individual tracks online - but in this case I decided to try out Audio Lunchbox so I bought the entire CD online in MP3. (It also helped that I really liked the CD and didn’t want to wait until I tracked it down)
For the last month and a half, the entire Carbon Leaf CD has been in heavy rotation on the iPod. Not only the songs from “Indian Summer” but I also picked up a few of the free downloads from their website, most notably “The Boxer”. Wonderfully written lyrics, great hooks, and a wide variety of sounds are featured on virtually every track. After a week or so I found out they would be coming here to perform and picked up tickets.
When Kelly and I got there, I’d guess there were about 100-125 people in the bar. Blue Merle, who was opening, had just taken the stage as we staked out our spot next to one of the columns, right in the center of the room. We got our drinks and enjoyed the opening act. They were OK, but it seemed like they were performing while on some kind of drug or shrooms.
Next up Carbon Leaf took the stage, performed a set of 16 songs or so. It was great; they sang virtually every song from the new CD and 6 or 7 from others. They even covered “Dear Prudence” and a Beach Boys song between their own songs. Watching them on stage together you could really see they just enjoyed playing together. Everyone in the band got their chance in the limelight, even the sound board guy when he manufactured the echoes used on one of the songs. Flutes, recorders, chimes, ukuleles, acoustic guitars, electric bass, sleigh bells and tambourines were used to create a great sound, which sounded surprisingly similar to the studio album. (When just listening to the album I assumed they were some kind of over-engineered studio band…but they were just as awesome in the flesh)
After the show they made their appearance at the merchandise booth, where I picked up 2 of the CDs I hadn’t tracked down yet and an uncompressed CD of the “Indian Summer” album. (It was only 5 dollars more than just the other CDs on their own) They announced that they are performing again tonight as a fundraiser for Spare Key, an organization which provides funds for families who have a child in the final stages of terminal cancer so that the parents can take the months off and spend it with their child. I may go back, not just to help out a great cause, but I’d love to see this great band again.