Livestream • Studio/Club New Orleans, LA
Contact: Andrea Evenson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Players: Joe Plowman, bass, Patrick Firth, keyboard, Carsie Blanton, guitars, vocals
Material: Carsie Blanton acknowledges John Prine and Nick Lowe among her influences. I also detect some Cyndi Lauper, maybe some Elvis Costello, Dolly Parton, perhaps even a hint of Joni Mitchell. She covers a lot of musical ground. From the cute & nasty, “Jacket,” (rhymes with “when you whack it”), to the cool, jazzy, finger-snapping “Twister,” to the angry protest, “Down in the Streets,” to the heart- wrenching “American Kid”: “Don’t look now it won’t be long, till they wonder what we did / We’ll have to admit we done them wrong / God bless the American kid.”
Musicianship: This trio was TIGHT. The kind of tight that can only come from playing together for years. Joe Plowman is a consummate bass player, making both electric and upright seem effortless with delightful lines that were every bit as melodic as they were rhythmic. The keyboard was the primary melodic instrument. Firth played a Fender Rhodes, providing a full sounding rhythm to complement Blanton’s guitar, while dancing all over the keys when appropriate. Both Joe and Patrick took solos, including a very impressive upright bass-with-a-bow solo.
Blanton’s voice led the way. Her guitar takes a back seat to the other two instruments providing a necessary rhythmic and tonal foundation. She also did a couple of solo acoustic guitar songs. But she is primarily a versatile and dynamic singer expressing a wide range, both melodically and emotionally.
Performance: This was kind of a cross between a concert and a telethon. They played for 3 hours, a total of 37 songs. The show was called a “rent party” because the objective was to raise $3,250 for Joe and Patrick’s rent. They succeeded. But as good as the music was, 3 hours is a long time. There’s something to be said for, “Leave them wanting more.”
Visually, Carsie is as diverse as her music is: Red hair, tight dress, and heavily tattooed arms.Part Bette Midler, part Little Orphan Annie and Betty Boop. With an occasional “F-bomb” thrown in for good measure.
Summary: It was a good and entertaining show, although long. While her image is slightly cartoonish, Blanton makes it clear that she is still to be taken seriously. She clearly loves what she does and loves her audience. The new album, due out in April, is Love and Rage. All three are obvious pros, and deserve your attention. – John Mollenhauer