Carbon Leaf,
Echo Echo
(Constant Ivy, 2001)

Over the years, Virginia has produced great musical artists like the Dave Matthews Band, Pat McGee, Cracker, Aimee Mann ... and now Carbon Leaf. The band's fourth self-released album, Echo Echo, combines elements of Irish and Scottish music, bluegrass and folk to create a unique form of Celtic rock. I bought the album after only hearing one song and now it's a permanent fixture in my CD player.

The band, based in Richmond, includes lead singer Barry Privett (vocals), Carter Gravatt (lead guitar, backing vocals), Terry Clark (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Jordan Medas (bass, stand-up bass) and Scott Milstead (drums). They met while attending Randolph-Macon University and have been together for close to nine years. Bassist Jordan Medas joined two years ago and has since been a part of two albums.

Echo Echo displays the band's instrumental versatility ranging from the banjo, mandolin, bodhran, tin whistle, bagpipes and harmonica to the stand-up bass. The album evokes a dreamy escape back into yesterday; you will relate to the songs, the emotions beneath and still have time to dance.

Fiery energy and powerful riffs open the album with the hit song, "The Boxer," following into the bluegrass sounds of "Wandrin' Around." One note from "Shine" will get your feet moving and your spirits soaring. "On Any Given Day" and "Torn to Tattered" will have you reminiscing about an old flame.

Barry's voice resonates a deep expressiveness with harmonious lyrical clarity while keeping true to a traditional Irish sound. His passionate lyrics reflect life experiences with poetic flare. His songs have a story-time quality along with an overall Irish jig feel, although their influences range from Irish traditions to the Beach Boys.

Onstage their chemistry is electrifying with talent and energetic personalities -- Carter flashing a brief smile your way while his fingers fly across the mandolin or Barry snatching his tin whistle from his pocket to play. There's Jordan dancing while playing his bass, Terry rhythmically in line and Scott's drums driving the dance energy across the room.

Carbon Leaf was the first unsigned band to perform on the American Music Awards on Jan. 9, 2002. They performed "The Boxer" at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in front of thousands in attendance as well as millions of viewers. They beat out about 800 bands nationwide to win the first Coca Cola New Music Award, organized by the Coca-Cola Co., Dick Clark Communications and CMJ.

Dick Clark has been up to his old habits bringing talented unsigned bands to the American television viewing audience. This kind of publicity is the right kind of push Carbon Leaf needs on their musical path.

[ by Lisa Comento ]
Rambles: 13 April 2002

Buy it from