My story with Carbon Leaf is a bit paradoxical. I always have a favorite band of the moment, and that has never been Carbon Leaf. That said, I’ve seen them more often, driven more miles for them, and own more of their CDs than any other band. So as far as my use of the phrase “favorite band”, well, I do not think it means what I think it means… Carbon Leaf are a Richmond-based band, and yet I didn’t start listening to them until I lived in England, and it wasn’t until last year that I’d actually seen them play in Richmond. They formed in 1996 and started off with a pretty heavily celtic-influenced sound. The Boxer is a great example of one of their early hits which they still play today, at least in Virginia, where they seem to include more of the celtic and folk style songs in their setlists than they may do elsewhere.
I’d say their more recent songs are a bit more mainstream sounding, but Barry’s voice remains pretty distinctive. One of the things that always strikes me when they’re setting up for a live show is the sheer number of instruments that the five of them bring onstage with them.
I caught a great show from them in May as part of the Groovin’ in the Garden concert series at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. They were in top form, playing for what seemed like forever and covering the highlights of their career. I also saw a shorter set earlier this month down in Newport News at Victory Landing Park’s Independence Day celebration. That probably makes about a dozen times that I’ve seen them now, but the Lewis Ginter show may always stand out for several reasons, but most particularly one special moment that a fan caught on video. Too sweet! (although that’s always an idea that could backfire badly!)
Below is one of my favorite photos from the Newport News show. You can see more pics of various CL concerts I’ve attended in my Carbon Leaf flickr set. I’d encourage you to give them a listen – if you’re interested in more of the celtic-influenced sound, Echo Echo is a must, or if you want to hear their more recent alternative/mainstream sound, I’d start with Indian Summer. They’re touring all over the US this summer, and I’m hoping to catch them next at the American Music Festival in Virginia Beach, VA, on 9/1. Do try to catch them if they’re coming your way. I’ve never left a show disappointed!
Carbon Leaf – The Boxer
Carbon Leaf – Miss Hollywood
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