Carla Ulbrich,
Her Fabulous Debut
(A Major Record Label, 1999)

Do you have a good sense of humor? Do you like a good chuckle? Are you ready to hear one of the most amusing CDs you have heard in a long while? Carla Ulbrich (pronounced "ole brick") has released a thoroughly enjoyable CD, appropriately titled Her Fabulous Debut. It is hysterical. And if Carla's sharp wit isn't enough to grab your interest, her guitar playing surely will be. If you quit laughing at her clever lyrics long enough to listen to her play, you can hear that she is quite accomplished on her instrument of choice.

As good as her guitar playing is, however, I was immediately drawn in by Carla's writing. Some artists write from the heart. Others write from the head. Carla writes from her funny bone. Her Fabulous Debut starts out with the toe-tapping sounds of "Please Do Something Stupid," in which Carla sings about finding the perfect man at the wrong time. "Boy Wonder," about the youngest person to graduate from college, begins on a more serious note but it doesn't take long before turning cynical about what his experience was truly like.

I was initially fooled by "It Reminds Me of You." At first, I thought Carla had written a sweet song about a dear friend, but it masks some not-so-subtle jabs that I'm glad weren't pointed at me! Did I mention that I love her lyrics! Carla really has a way with words, a talent proven again with "What If Your Girlfriend Was Gone." (In a blooper bonus track at the end of the CD, Carla shares a mistake she made while singing this song at a show -- an error which actually adds to the song!)

Carla explains the one serious song on the album, a cover of "Love to Learn," as a concession to friends who wanted her to sing upbeat songs about love. And she does a good job of it. But once she gets it out of her system, Carla goes right back into the fun stuff.

"Love Connection" is based on a true episode in Carla's life where she went on a few dates with a man who did not impress her, although he apparently impressed himself. She saw him on Love Connection in the wee hours one morning and was inspired to write about him. "Nothing To Say" is a silly song about ... nothing. It is very easy to sing along with. One of my favorites is "Toasted Chicken Sandwich." If you have any redneck blood in you, I am sure you will relate. You will have to hear the song to know what I mean.

Carla, who is originally from Clemson, South Carolina, was aided on this wonderful recording by Jack Williams (lead guitar, nylon string guitar, percussion, vocals), Danny Harlow (mandolin), Cary Taylor (bass), Tony Torre (drums), Chuck Herin (cello), Andy Offutt Irwin (jug, whistling, glass xylophone, vocals, redneck comments), Don Porterfield (vocals) and Big Daddy (pizza delivery).

This one comes highly recommended. Everyone with a sense of humor will get something out of this fabulous debut.

[ by Wil Owen ]

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Visit Carla Ulbrich's website.