February 11, 2019

Dear Readers: We've Moved!

A quick announcement that's long overdue: Carry You Away is moving to a new site, to better work with the other writing that I do for my other blog. As I've changed e-mails and accounts, it makes more sense to keep everything in one place, so as of today, CYA will be updated at its new location:

If you'd like to continue to follow us, please update your bookmarks and keep an eye out for new materials soon!

February 11, 2010

Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo - Despite the Snow

"There is nowhere that I'd rather be..." So sings Emily Barker on the song Breathe, off of her 2008 album, Despite the Snow. The album has been getting some press because one of the songs, Nostalgia, has been used for the theme to a UK show called Wallander. The song has been giving the band a higher presence after the Royal Television Society with an award for the use of the theme song.

Despite The Snow is a stunning album. It has a very different sound from much of what is heard in the singer/songwriter market, with Barker's haunting voice surrounded by her acoustic guitar, violin and bass for a very minimal, stripped down sound. The result is a very good one, right from the beginning with Nostalgia and All Love Knows through to the end. Overall, there is a real feeling of some American country/folk artists such as Alison Krauss or Nancy Griffith, but with a distinct modern feel to it, especially with the song Disappear.

The album just feels very different to me, from the sound to the tone and pacing. Barker doesn't feel rushed, but takes her time to move forward, deliberately. This really suits the sound and lyrics for the album, there is an emphasis on repetition for some of the lyrics, which helps to reinforce the meaning behind the words. With this, Barker weaves in and out with the words in a manner that I don't hear all that often.

There is a theme that runs through the album that the front sleeve alluded to: the title, Despite the Snow, is a line taken from a poem, a love poem, and that the rest of the album follows suit in that manner. There is much about longing, about love seperated and sought, and this fits well with the overall sound of the album. It is touching and sweet at the same time.

This is a fantastic album, especially if you like the Singer/Songwriter genre. Barker and her band, the Red Clay Halo have a wonderful, minimal sound that doesn't overstay its welcome, but isn't too sparse that I felt like I was missing something. Everything falls between that delicate overlap of the right pacing, feel, vocals and lyrics, making this possibly one of the best albums that I've listened to all year.

Nostalgia - Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo
Bright Phoebus - Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo

Hype - Buy - Look - Follow

February 10, 2010

Nightbook - Ludovico Einaudi

A while ago, I picked up Ludovico Einaudi's fantastic album, Divenire, and fell completely in love with his minimalistic classical music in a way that no modern composer has really gotten me before. Einaudi's followup album, Nightbook, was something that I was apprehensive about, simply because I wasn't sure if any of the songs in that album could top the beauty that enthralled me with songs such as Primavera, Andare and Divenire.

In that way,
Nightbook was a bit of a surprise for me, as it has a slightly different tone and feel than Divenire, but one that keeps much of what I loved about it. This album is packed with a number of absolutely georgious tracks, from the slow, subdued In Principio to Lady Labyrinth, a flowing piano piece, to the sublime piano solo Indaco. Where Divenire seemed to focus a bit more on strings (at least when I think about the album, that's what I remember) this album seems to be far more intimately focused on the piano. This gives Nightbook a very different tone and feel throughout.

What I really like about this album is that it really helps to reinforce my love of classical music. While I don't listen to it as often, I'm often stocked at the dismissal that the genre often receives from other music listeners, and I've never been able to put my finger on just why that is. As someone who's attended hundreds of classical music concerts in my lifetime, I would say that it's incredibly important, and Einaudi's music certainly feels like a neo-classical work of art, rather than a rock musician who has taken to concert piano for a project. This album feels intimate, real and honest throughout. I honestly get chills while listening to some of the tracks here, such as
The Crane Dance, Indaco and The Tower, and already, several of these songs have been played dozens of times on my computer, over and over again, while I close my eyes to relax and listen.

Indaco - Ludovico Einaudi
The Snow Prelude No.15 - Ludovico Einaudi

February 9, 2010

Julia Brown - Strange Scars

While covering another artist last year, I came across another artist who caught my ears, playing a couple shows up in Vermont during the same time: Julia Brown. Hailing from Virginia and now residing in New York City, Brown falls into the singer/song writer catagory. Her 2008 album, Strange Scars, is her second album, and is an intense, emotional acoustic rock album. The press release for the album on her website notes: Your songs are just your life looking back at you, and after listening through this album, I would say that's a fair assessment of her music.

This album feels very much like it is an album that is both revealing and personal to Brown, with songs like Unburden and In Hurt's Arms, coupled by her fantastic voice and background musicians. Yet, the album doesn't sound bitter or resentful, but thoughtful; one that observes the world and life around her. There is a wonderful connect between her sound and her lyrics throughout this album, and I find myself drawn to a number of the songs on it as I listen through the track list.

While listening, I've been thinking about the singer-song writer genre as a whole, and I have to appreciate their music, but also their courage for what they write: often putting to paper their own troubling experiences and reactions, moments that most of us would rather forget than relive night after night on a concert circuit. While many of us take advantage of them for what they do, they have an incredibly difficult job: my hat is off to them.

Brown brings an intensity to this record, one that I really don't hear much from with Singer-Songwriters. Her songs feel real, raw, and interesting, and is the stuff that makes us come back to songs time and time again to find stories and possible solutions to our own lives. Where their songs might be mirrors to their lives, we listen to music because we relate to what they sing about, and certainly, there's something to be gained by listening to this record.

Unburden - Julia Brown
1000 Paper Princes - Julia Brown

February 8, 2010

Josh Ritter Announcement: So Runs The World Away

This morning, the official Josh Ritter website announced the title of his next album, the followup to the Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter: So Runs The World Away. Along with the announcement was a free MP3 download for a track called Change Of Time. The new album is due out on May 4th in the United States, or if you live in Ireland, it will be out just a couple days before, on April 23th.

This is rather exciting news for me, as both The Animal Years and The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter were both two absolute favorites of mine over the past couple of years. The times that I have seen him in concert have likewise blown me away with his energy, songwriting and sound.
The last concert that I saw, over at the University of Vermont, Ritter dropped a number of new songs into his set, and in all likelihood, these songs, Orbital and The Curse, will make it onto this record. (Especially The Curse, given the mummy artwork on his webpage).

What has impressed me the most thus far with the new songs that I have heard is the story. WIth his prior albums, Ritter has demonstrated an ability to tell a fantastic couple of stories, whether it's from the American West, life after a nuclear war, or a long distance romance, and the trend doesn't seem to have vanished with this album, which is most exciting. While the songs that I've heard thus far are a bit calmer than his usual fair, I'm really hoping that we'll get some more of his energy as well.

You can listen to the new track here, at
Youtube or download the song by going here. To support the album, Ritter is going back out on tour between the US and Ireland:

April 24th - Galway, IRE
The Live Lounge at The Radisson Hotel

April 25th - Limerick, IRE
Dolans Warehouse

April 27th - Dublin, IRE
Grand Canal Theatre

April 29 – Belfast, N. IRE
Festival Marquee at CQAF
[ On-sale Feb 26th ]

April 30th - Kilkenny, IRE
Ormonde Hotel, Kilkenny (8.30pm)
Kilkenny Rythym & Roots festival

May 7th - Philadelphia, PA
Theater of Living Arts

May 8th - Washington, DC
9.30 Club

May 10th - Baltimore, MD
Ram's Head Live

May 11th - Durham, NC
Carolina Theatre

May 13th - Atlanta, GA
Variety Playhouse

May 15th - Chicago, IL
The Vic Theatre

May 19th - New York, NY
Town Hall

May 20th - New York, NY
Town Hall [SOLD OUT]

Lillian, Egypt - Josh Ritter
The Curse - Josh Ritter
Orbital - Josh Ritter

February 3, 2010

Lissie - Why You Runnin' - EP

I recently caught up with the season finale of Joss Whedon's fantastic show Dollhouse last night (read my reactions to the show here) and one of the things that caught my ears was the song used in the last couple minutes of the show, Everywhere I Go, by Lissie.

Hailing from Rock Island, Illinois, Lissie Maurus's debute EP, Why You Runnin', is a quiet, unreserved collection of five songs that just bubble with potential. Numerous critics have already been taking an interest in her music, and for good reason: there's a good sound to this young lady, packed into just a couple of songs. Balancing acoustic rock, folk and bluegrass together, Why You Runnin' is a diverse blend, starting off with the jumping Little Lovin', the echo ladened Hank Williams cover Wedding Bells, delicate Piano ballad Oh Missisippi and my favorite off the album, Everywhere I Go before wrapping up with the soft Here Before. Her voice is strong and sounds very, very good to me, in a smokey, seductive way that just works as she goes up and down the register.

Female singer/songwriters are sometimes hit or miss for me, but Lissie hits a lot of the high points with this EP. The sounds here are very scattered, but for a new artist, that's not necessarily a bad thing: she demonstrates that she can play in a number of different ways and styles, and has a number of options to where she can go next. Hopefully, with the eventual full length release, we will see some more refinement and continuity between styles, but already, she is off to a fairly good start.

February 2, 2010

Justin Levinson - Predetermined Fate

There's a bit of a neat 'Six Degrees of Seperation' in the Vermont music scene with Justin Levinson's latest album, Predetermined Fate: Not only is he friends with a couple of my friends in various circles, he's engaged to Vermont Singer-Songwriter Myra Flynn, who blew me away with her fantastic first album, Crooked Measures, last year. As such, I've seen Levinson a couple of times in concert, opening for Myra for her release party, and I think at least one or two other places over the years.

Despite those connections, Levinson's got a whole different ballgame than Flynn with this album, trending far more towards the country-folk and singer-songwriter vibe than indie soul. And I love it. Predetermined Fate is a fantastically fun album to listen to. The entire overal sound and feel of the eleven tracks has a wonderful country-twang of an acoustic guitar, combined with Levinson's inde-rock style vocals. Songs such as Bandaid on a Bulletwound, Losing You To Tennesse, Hoplessness and Soles Of Your Feet have a laidback feel that helps to not only emphasize the music, but also the lyrics that help to drive it.

If I didn't know better, I would have classified this album as country music (which isn't a bad thing by any means) because of some elements of the songs, but there's a certain blend of genres here that makes if far more difficult to seperate out, especially considering the lyrics and album as a whole. What Levinson has put together is a fun, light album that is lyrically and musically interesting and with a good range of sound, going from fun with Bulletwound to the sweet with Myra's Song.

If you're in Vermont or the nearby states, Justin has several shows coming up this month and next:

February 6, 2010 @ 5:00 PM-Spruce Peak, Stowe, VT
February 25, 2010 @ 7:00 PM- University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
March 6, 2010 @ 8:00 PM- Vergennes Opera House, Vergennes, VT
March 27, 2010 @ 5:00 PM-Spruce Peak, Stowe, VT

Bandaid on a Bulletwound - Justin Levinson
Myra's Song - Justin Levinson