I will always be a blues/rock ‘n’ roll guy at heart first and foremost, so when I received the music for Carsie Blanton’s new album “Buck Up,” it was a bit of a departure for me. However, what intrigued me the most, after listening several times, is how well she has created her own sound by mixing multiple genres together. That’s something that I always dig when I’m listening to an artist for the first time.
Blanton has been making music for the past dozen years. She’s drawn comparisons over the course of her career to Cole Porter (via John Oates), Tom Waits, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Louis Armstrong, to name a few. Sure enough, the sound is a jazz-meets-cabaret-meets-pop-meets-folk melting pot, wrapped up with a dash of New Orleans Dixie, which makes sense, because that’s where Blanton now makes her home. Rolling Stone Country noted she’s an artist to watch. Blanton is all over the map, in a good way.
A couple things stand out as real positives. The production (the album is co-produced with Blanton by Pete Donnelly of The Figgs and Graham Parker) is solid. Not overdone, crisp and clear, generally good tones, not too much modern pop smoke and mirrors, but enough sheen to make it accessible. Blanton’s vocals are also unique — smoky, jazzy, but with a pop sensibility all at the same time.
Wood Brothers’ fans will appreciate Oliver Wood, an early mentor to Blanton, playing guitar and lending vocals on the title track, “Buck Up.” Other songs that stand out include the poppy and catchy “That Boy,” which could easily be a crossover radio play, the delightfully unorthodox lyrical approach to “Jacket,” the rootsy, groovy “Bed,” and the folky, intimate “Desire.” Overall, there are several different takes on the subject matter of love on this album, with a moderate amount of depth and touch given to it. This isn’t a pop album designed to be made exclusively with the goal of radio airplay. There’s care taken in the construction of these songs, which is always greatly appreciated.
One side note – while her intention is to make her living off of music, Blanton believes that money is not the first object. If you go to her website at www.carsieblanton.com you have the option of purchasing her music at any price you like.
If you are looking for something different, yet catchy, give “Buck Up” a try. Blanton offers a good mix of love songs, dark subject matters, and light humor, all wrapped up in an album that touches on several genres throughout.
— Jon Siembieda
- Carsie Blanton
Release: Feb. 15, 2019
- In concert: March 6 at the Crystal Bay Casino (Opening for The Wood Brothers)
February 25 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre*
February 26 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom*
February 28 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern*
March 1 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern*
March 2 – Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theatre*
March 3 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Fremont Theatre*
March 5 – Santa Cruz, CA – Rio Theatre*
March 6 – Crystal Bay, NV – Crystal Bay Casino*
March 7 – Santa Rosa, CA – Luther Burbank Center for the Arts*
March 8 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore*
March 9 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore*
March 20 – Milwaukee, WI – Shank Hall
March 21 – Cedar Rapids, IA– CSPS Hall
March 22 – Evanston, IL – Evanston SPACE
March 23 – Grand Rapids, MI– The Mint @ The Intersection
March 24 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
April 4 – Washington, DC – The Hamilton
April 6 – Cambridge, MA – Club Passim
April 10 – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge
April 11 – Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe
April 12 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
April 17 – Decatur, GA – Eddie’s Attic
May 5 – New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
* – Supporting The Wood Brothers