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.
Birds Over Arkansas
Birds Over Arkansas formed in 2011 when Scott Haskitt, Laura Hartshorn, and John Mondick discovered that the product of their musical experimentations was greater than the sum of its parts. Although they reside in different states (Scott and Laura live in New Haven, CT, while John lives in Philadelphia, PA), they continued their long distance collaboration after realizing that the spark of creativity and collaboration they had forged could not be duplicated by working on their own or with other musicians.
Drawing from influences such as Peter Gabriel, Ryan Adams, Frank Zappa, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, and Yes, their music infuses heartfelt lyrics, infectious melodies, and complex rhythmic structures to create compelling and moving songs that are the antithesis of today's manufactured pop music.
Having known each other from many singer-songwriter based projects over the years, Scott and John began feeling like they were trying to force themselves into the wrong genre.
"In the writing process, we started realizing that we had these really fun initial ideas, often kind of quirky and unorthodox, and then we would just edit and massage them down until they sounded like everything else. It was really frustrating, sort of killing our own ideas. So we started doing the opposite; shining a light on the quirky bits from sessions and junking the normal sounding stuff. Eventually, those left turns started to make sense in their own way".
Around the same time, Laura and Scott were trying to pick up the pieces of a dissolved cover band in New Haven. "We did a lot of Queen, so we all sang in the band, and Laura and I really blended well vocally together. We didn't want to lose that, so we kept playing gigs and added in the originals John and I were working on. As soon as John started joining in on shows, we were suddenly having the time of our lives playing covers and really quirky originals".