Eclectic indie rock from Virginia quintet
830 E. Burnside St.
Portland, OR, 97214
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM
This event is 21 and over
2013 has been a prolific year for Carbon Leaf as they release their second full-length album, CONSTELLATION PRIZE, in September behind their 50 city “JUMP IN OR FALL” U.S. Tour.
The band’s autonomous spirit in returning to their roots of recording and producing independently – from their own studio – and releasing their music directly to fans, has rekindled their creative output and inspired them to release more music and with greater frequency. Since 2010 the band has released 5 independent albums – why wait two years for an album cycle?
This year kicked off with GHOST DRAGON ATTACKS CASTLE, a 12-song collection of Celtic-inspired, original tunes, and is already a fan favorite, debuting at #15 on the Billboard Top New Artist Album (2/24/13) and #2 on the iTunes Rock Chart (2/24/13)].
Sixth months later, Carbon Leaf’s 11th album CONSTELLATION PRIZE, explores American roots and folk, with 10 tracks ranging in tone from bluegrass and Appalachia, to country, rock and some more languid, extended jams. It is an eloquent and sweet musing on the threads that keep our hearts intact as we wisen and grow with age, and ponder what is waiting in the unknown beyond our friends, family and community. Ultimately it is a call to live well, to love, and to lean in and trust. Constellation Prize also marks the first time working with PledgeMusic, a fan-funding platform akin to Kickstarter, but created exclusively for musicians that allows a more interactive connection between the band and it’s fans. [Check out the funny PledgeMusic video the band produced!]
Carbon Leaf has been blending Folk, Celtic, Bluegrass, Americana, Rock and Pop traditions into their own sound for 12 albums now, and perhaps their music can be summed up best by the title of one of their earliest releases: “Ether-Electrified Porch Music” -a sound that conveys an aura of warmth, punctuated by diverse instruments including mandolin, upright bass, fiddle, penny whistle, banjo, cello, peddle steel, accordion, acoustic and electric guitars, bodhrán and bagpipes.
Now in their 20th year of award-winning recording, this Virginia quintet is consistently traversing America with their nonstop touring schedule, bringing with them an impressive portfolio of achievements, as they continue to produce a steady stream of new music coupled with energetic live-shows throughout North America.
Carbon Leaf debuted as an independent college band in 1993, eventually leading to a recording contract with Vanguard Records in 2004, resulting in three albums during their six years with the label. Along the way, Carbon Leaf has scored hit singles at AAA and Hot AC Radio with “Life Less Ordinary” and “The Boxer”; placed first in the International Songwriting Competition for “The War Was In Color”; was the first independent band to ever win an American Music Award; and in 2010, recorded the music for Universal Pictures Curious George 2 soundtrack. Since then, the band has released a wonderfully received original holiday/winter concept album, Christmas Child, as well the EP How the West was One and a live concert DVD Live, Acoustic…and in Cinemascope!
In celebration of 20 rich years together – and with 12 original records already under their belt – the band has an ever-ambitious slate ahead for new singles and full-album releases going forward.
…MORE INFO ON THE 2013 RELEASES
GHOST DRAGON ATTACKS CASTLE (Feb. 2013)
BLOODY GOOD BAR FIGHT SONG
THE DONNYBROOK AFFAIR
GHOST DRAGON ATTACKS
SHE’S GONE (…FOR GOOD THIS TIME)
A SONG FOR THE SEA
THE FOX AND THE HARE
I LOVE VICTORY!
SAD AND ALONE
THE ROAD IS BREAKING MY HEART
Irish folk and Celtic rock influences have always peppered the band’s songs and albums – not to mention their energetic live shows – for years now, but GHOST DRAGON fully embraces those traditional roots from start to finish, giving the Carbon Leaf fan who loves the band’s Celtic-influenced songs (“The Boxer”, “Desperation Song”, “American Tale”, “Toy Soldiers”, “Home”…) a new, full-blown album of all-original Celtic folk, rock and instrumental dance tunes to celebrate and sink their teeth into.
CONSTELLATION PRIZE (Sept. 2013)
LOVE RAIN DOWN
ALL OF MY LOVE
TWO AGING TRUCKERS
PIERCE MY HEART
WOLFIN DOWN YOUR HEART
TOMBSTONE VS ASHES
Constellation Prize is Carbon Leaf’s new American roots and folk rock album that features 10 songs pondering life, death, and love on a beautiful but broken world – while musing on what prize lies beyond – as mortality and faith arm wrestle for meaning under the stars.
A fitting, if somewhat contrasting companion piece to the band’s raucous Celtic-inspired March release, Ghost Dragon Attacks Castle, Constellation Prize asks What is the ultimate prize? What is it offering? What is it taking away? What are we giving or leaving?
As if to counter the notions that lead our hearts and minds to aspire beyond the grave, Constellation Prize lays bare an emphasis on the Now – the gift of life and our dreams of being able to live it well as we cling dear to time’s linear, steady gate for as long as we are granted, all the while rocketing forward towards a greater unknown.
Faith, family, friends and community – they carry us through the burdens of the heart as we transition, age, grow and mine the vein of our own spirits.
Is there only our loved ones here on Earth? Do we miss life on Earth while holding out for something else? Is it just a bunch of stars? What is our consolation? What is our reward?
Calling upon our sources of strength in the face of what we don’t understand is what illuminates Constellation Prize, a sardonic play on the familiar phrase suggesting that our reward for making it through our time on Earth lies within the eye of the beholder…up to a point. Is it heaven or a sea of stars? Are we left with a greater promise or are we left with a handful of stardust? Time will tell when the truth is unraveled from the life, laughter, joy, love, pain and loss we experience here on Earth.
Swirling like an illumined cosmic dust, surrounding this struggle between curiosity, faith and doubt, is the comforting notion that our struggles can be redeemed. At the end of our day, can we look back and find that one small thing that signifies us and makes us say, “It was worth it. I lived well. I have carried this, and it will carry me.”
Sometimes it is in our brokenness, or our foolishness or our confusion – in the subsequent hanging of our head and spirit – that we manage to look up through it all, in spite of ourselves, to keep trying…to hope and believe.
Constellation Prize captures this bitter-sweet uncertainty, simply offering that our poignancy and heart – our humanness – lies in the midst of all this celestial tugging between the forces of what we believe to be true, and what we truly won’t know until we go.
Ultimately, it is a call to live well, to love, to lean in and trust, to believe in the forces that tug, and to have faith.
For Brian Wright, life as a traveling troubadour began in Mclennan County, Texas near the highway and the trains. That is where his father took a job that required a great deal of travel, making the family VW van Wright's first crib. Consequently Wright feels most at home when on the road, and this movement has helped shaped Wright's sense of bare-boned lyrics and achingly beautiful songs that seem both distant and intimate at the same time.
After spending his early twenties on the Austin/Waco/Dallas bar circuit, playing everything from punk to covers, Wright flipped a coin to decide his future home, either New York City or Los Angeles. Going West won the day. Today, at the age of 33, when not touring, he resides in Los Angeles where he is a fixture in the LA music scene. For the last six years he has been the front man and lyricist for his band Brian Wright and the Waco Tragedies, a band that has gathered a devoted audience across the country.
"When people ask what I sound like I usually say I'm somewhere between Woody Guthrie and Velvet Underground," says Wright. It's true but there is also hints of Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark fused with a bluesy slide guitar and a simple, but enchanting Paul McCartney like bass line.
Wright's newest release House on Fire, boldly declares a new chapter in his life as a musician and producer. His two previous albums, Bluebird and Dog Ears were recorded with a live band in the studio, both in a span of three days. These were done in an attempt to capture the true essence of the band's energy. House on Fire approached the recording process from a different angle. The album is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream of Brian's to play every instrument on the record. This album took time, craftsmanship,
and a sustained passion to produce a sound that reflects Wright's newest chapter in his journey as a musician and songwriter. The result is an album that truly reflects the man behind the voice. With House on Fire, Wright doesn't just write songs, he composes short stories with images and characters, fusing the rural beauty of old time country with the echoes of rock n' roll.
"I love playing in my band, sitting in with fellow musicians, but this album finally allowed me to make the music the exact way it was in my head." The fourteen songs on House on Fire further cement Wright's quest to becoming a premiere singer/songwriter. The album is co-produced with Mike Vizcarra, who created a studio in a one-room Laurel Canyon apartment, coincidentally the same hovel that was once the home of Waco's most famous former resident, Steve Martin.