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Now in their 20th year of award-winning recording, all while consistently traversing America with their nonstop touring schedule, Carbon Leaf can look back at an impressive portfolio of achievements, as they continue to produce a steady stream of new music and tour throughout North America during 2011. Hailing from Virginia, the same musically fertile purlieu that has nurtured the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Hornsby and Jason Mraz, Carbon Leaf's sound reflects a wide range of influences. Their unique blend of Folk-Rock, Americana, Celtic, Bluegrass, Rock and Pop certainly lends itself to a variety of genres. But the title of one of their early albums, Ether Electrified Porch Music, seems to conjure the right image: An aura of warmth, with music punctuated by diverse instruments including mandolin, upright bass, violin, B3, rhodes and banjo, as well as acoustic and electric guitars.
Carbon Leaf's origins began as an independent band in 1992, eventually leading to a recording contract with Vanguard Records in 2004, resulting in a three albums during their six years with the label. Along the way, Carbon Leaf has scored hit singles at AAA and Hot AC Radio with "Life Less Ordinary" and "The Boxer," placed first in the International Songwriting Competition, won an American Music Award, and recorded the music for Universal Pictures' Curious George 2 Soundtrack. Their voyage has come full circle, as Carbon Leaf produced two independent albums in 2010, including the wonderfully received holiday "concept" album, Christmas Child.
In May 2011, Carbon Leaf released their latest project, Live, Acoustic...And In Cinemascope!, a live Double CD and DVD that captures the band's entire 18 song performance from a memorable evening in their hometown of Richmond, Virginia. The new CD and DVD was recorded and shot in early 2010 at In Your Ear Studios, the site where the band produced several of their earliest albums. Captured in an intimate setting with a small audience, the pristine recording displays Carbon Leaf's stellar musicianship and songwriting prowess, while also providing a revealing glimpse into the band's personalities. As lead singer and writer Barry Privett notes, "In a lot of ways, this performance represents Carbon Leaf at our most naked. It gets somewhat easy to hide behind a wall of sound, so stripping things down to their acoustic essentials is a challenge in simplicity. You're reminded of how the songs first began--a couple of guys sitting around with their acoustics on the porch, just playing some chords and scatting some melodies, searching for that spark of inspiration...for the story." Live, Acoustic...And In Cinemascope! features songs that span Carbon Leaf's career, performed at the peak of their musical form and in a format that reveals their considerable skills and character. As Privett concludes, "It feels good to revisit and lay it bare again."
There is no denying that Carbon Leaf is a hard-working band, having loaded up the bus and averaged 125 shows a year throughout their career. Their diverse musical talents allow them to appear in many different formats: Headlining clubs and theaters, co-headlining and performing with many different artists, playing numerous festivals and Rock Boat cruises, and always continuing their various series of intimate acoustic shows for up-close-and-personal interaction with their fans. During 2011, the band just completed a month long series of dates with Toad The Wet Sprocket and is gearing up for a full slate of dates that will take them across the US during the Summer, including performances at Mountain Jam and Bumbershoot. As Carbon Leaf looks ahead to an ever-evolving landscape, the future looks bright--new recordings and more touring, with an eye always aimed towards exploring new opportunities.Of course, this all begins with a basic premise. As Privett sums up: "We want to put out music we enjoy. We like to write songs and record them in the studio. And then once we've finished the whole song, take it out live."