Sadly, Carbon Leaf’s re-scheduled concert at The Egg was not well attended. Perhaps if they had played their original date (February 25) they would have drawn a larger audience because St. Patrick’s Day was just around the corner, and in some musical circles, the Virginia-based band is considered an “Irish” band.
Not really. Just because they occasionally use some Irish traditional instruments (bodhran, bagpipes, etc.), they have been labeled a Celtic-Bluegrass group. But they present too broad a range of incredible music (roots-Americana, acoustic blues, folk, etc.) to be typecast or pigeonholed.
Carbon Leaf took the stage at The Egg and launched their sparkling set with a solid acoustic number spotlighting the vocal harmonies swirling around lead-singer Barry Privett. As each song rolled forward, the band’s repertoire blossomed in a kaleidoscope of musicals styles played with heart and soul. Even the lighting engineer joined in to tailor the changing reds, blues, oranges and greens with the group’s ever-shifting musical moods.
One amazing highlight of Carbon Leaf’s set was a powerful rendition of the Beatles’ “White Album” gem, “Dear Prudence.” Privett’s impassioned vocals and the band’s dynamic control made it their very own – no less so than Joe Cocker did with another Fab Four classic, “With A Little Help From My Friends.”
In fact, the band made every song their own with each element of the band in support of the others, from Terry Clark’s solid acoustic guitar playing to Carter Gavatt’s intricate mandolin, lap steel and electric guitar stylings; from Jason Neal’s flawless drums and percussion to John Markel’s superb electric bass lines; and, of course, Privett’s gut-wrenching tenor.
Opening that night was O.A.R.’s bassist Mikel Paris leading his own outfit. Backed by the incredible, high-energy duo of saxophonist-keyboardist Glen Mauser and drum master Mal Stein, lap steel guitarist-vocalist Paris didn’t even bring a bass to support his own original songs. After his set, however, more than a few in attendance were scratching their heads wondering why Paris was the opener instead of headlining his own tour.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk