No labels, just DIY
When the non-rebels are cool: Carbon Leaf, the courteous rock band
After 18 years together, eight studio albums and myriad of other releases, one of the most admirable attributes of Celtic-folkies Carbon Leaf is its very courteous approach to the DIY lifestyle.
Lead singer Barry Privett is no Johnny Rotten shouting "Bollocks to authority, bollocks to our fans and bollocks to anyone who disagrees with me!!" as he did back in the Sex Pistols hey-day. And Carbon Leaf is not the band that is going to blast and curse its record label and the all-evil recording industry as it walks out the corporate door.
(Andy really, isn't everyone a little tired of hearing this rant from certain fat-cat artist besides me? While they might have a point, you'll notice that bands keep signing with the blasphemous labels? You'll also notice that they keep taking the heaping helpings of advance money that come before they actually ever record a note ...)
In a very prim-and-proper fashion, however, Carbon Leaf comes to Houston (for a show at The Warsaw tonight) free of its industry shackles. Earlier this year the five-member Virginia band announced that it was severing ties with corporate Vanguard Records in an effort to produce music more quickly and get it distributed on digital platforms.
No "Screw you's" or trashed label rep offices necessary. Just a simple, "Thanks for the memories, but we're moving on."
New EP How The West Was Won Does does not seem to suffer artistically under this new do-it-yourself arrangement. Texans familiar with Austin-turned-Nashville band The Greencards — or even Nickel Creek — will be familiar with Carbon Leaf's use of multi-layered strings and Irish influences. What sets them apart is a distinct grooviness and penchant for improvisational jams that makes them more of an indie descendent of The Dave Matthews Band or the Drive-By Truckers.
Don't miss this chance to see Carbon Leaf reborn in the recently opened new club The Warsaw (formerly the Engine Room). And remember to pick up a copy of the album at the swag table.
Bands with no labels need a little extra financial boost from the fans.
Friday, July 23
Carbon Leaf, 7 p.m. at The Warsaw