Carbon Leaf goes back to its roots

|
Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

It's difficult not to love a band that is as creative as Carbon Leaf.

Not only do the Richmond-born bandmates create much-loved indie rock, they are masters at creative word play. Consider the title of their soon-to-be-released album "Lord of the Rings of the Trees," especially timely now that so much excitement has built around the just-released blockbuster movie "The Hobbit." But don't think Carbon Leaf's music will be anything but its own.

"We are really seeking to get back to our foundation and our roots," said vocalist Barry Privett. "It has to be about the songs. If we put something out that was just tossed together, we wouldn't enjoy that."

Privett speaks from experience. After Carbon Leaf's 2004 major label debut, the bandmates rode a fast track that kept them from getting the music out to fans. That's likely a surprise to many considering "Nothing Rhymes with Woman," the band's 2009 release, quickly found a place in fans' and critics' hearts. But now that the band has again become indie, it will be able to satisfy its fans' thirst for new music much quicker than when it worked with the major labels.

Onstage
Carbon Leaf
» When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
» Where: The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
» Details: Sold out at press time; some may be available from online resellers

To reconnect with its fan base, the group has played a host of acoustic shows in the past year.

Now that the band is again indie, it plans to give fans a lot more music, much quicker.

"Before, we were doing hybrid acoustic-electric shows," said Privett. "The last couple shows have been seated, acoustic. We left the electric amps in the trailer and just used all acoustic instruments, no electric guitars. It's fun for the guys to get back to that [organic] level, and it's fun for the fans. Overall, all of the fans like a contrast [between acoustic and electric shows]."

Revisiting songs in their original form combined with the new freedoms afforded by their independent status has allowed the bandmates to refocus a lot of their energies, perhaps even reworking some back material and presenting it in various mediums, said Privett.

"We are definitely always looking for that," he said of new ways to release songs. "You never know what [songs] will pop up, both new and from our back catalog. Right now we're looking at the year ahead and developing a game plan. It will include a lot of touring, and it'll be a nice time to focus on [writing] music."

View article comments Leave a comment