Carbon Leaf Is Enjoying Its New Life

When Carbon Leaf left Vanguard Records last year, the group turned over a, well, new leaf.
The group has embraced its existence in the independent music world. The band realized that by going indie it could be autonomous.
“That is the greatest word,” vocalist-multi-instrumentalist Barry Privett said while calling from Northhampton, Mass. “We can do what we want to do, which is to release more albums than you can while you’re with the conventional record company.”
The Virginia based quintet, which crafts an amalgam of Celtic, bluegrass and rock, released three albums in 2010, including its latest, ‘Christmas Child,’ which it will showcase Wednesday through Friday at the Tin Angel.
The album is comprised of nine clever, original  Celtic-rock Christmas songs. Some of the cuts are wistful, while others pack a bit of a punch. Each tune has a seasonal feel with some surprising sonic twists.
At this time last year, the band was pounded with inspiration.
“Last December Virginia got clobbered by two massive snowstorms right before Christmas,” Privett said. “During that time, I was really in a mood to write and what I was writing turned into a holiday record.
The songs came and I thought it would be interesting to make a record like this without the Christmas standards. I didn’t want to do the traditional songs since I’m not much of a crooner. We made the right move with this album.”
Much of the album will be rendered when the group performs at the Tin Angel. “We’re on our seated tour and so the Tin Angel fits in well with this,” Privett said. “We’ll pull out the acoustic instruments since we’re not on our rock tour. It’s a different show from us but we’re interested in doing things differently. Nothing tops being in a band and getting to do whatever you want.”
Carbon Leaf, which also includes guitarist Terry Clark, guitarist-fiddler and mandolin player Carter Gravatt, bassist Jon Markel and drummer Jason Neal, hopes to record at least four albums a year.
“Why not make albums,” Privett said. “We were trapped in the record company system for too long. That system is lame. If you’re an artist, you want to create.”
So count on Carbon Leaf, which is on its ‘Home For the Holidays’ tour, to craft some new material and also release a live CD/DVD in 2011. “We have so much opportunity,” Privett said. “Why not take advantage of it? We’ve been at this for almost 20 years and we’re doing well creatively and things are great on the business side. Right now, I wouldn’t change a thing. We’re in a great spot. I think that’s so anytime you can call your own shots.”

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