Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Must-hear music: Great Big Sea, Keller Williams, Eddie from Ohio, Moxy Fruvous and now Carbon Leaf.

My taste in music has been shifting somewhat lately. My favorite band is still Counting Crows, but while I can sing along to almost every song they've ever done, they tend to bring me down. And lately, there's been enough other weirdness in my life that I don't need any more down. (Move along, move along, we're all full up of down here.) Therefore, I've been looking around for great pick-me-up music. You know, bands that sing more than just the usual love songs, or, if they do, they do so with such style and grace that you don't notice because of their fantastic vibe. Groups that you'd want to buy bumper stickers to slap on your old Jeep Cherokee and follow 'em around on tour. That kind of thing.

I have hunted, and I have found. Keep in mind that I have a thing for really good, fun, folk rock music, and I prefer acoustic to electric guitar. Therefore some of these are obvious, groups that I've loved for years. Jenny Sieber turned me on to Moxy Fruvous back in high school, and Talon Beeson turned me on to Eddie from Ohio in college. During my time at Kenyon I was also turned on to Great Big Sea by Ryan Ruopp and SarahScott Brett. Now I'm hoping to return the favor to these guys (and all y'all) by introducing two of my recent discoveries, Keller Williams and Carbon Leaf.

Keller Williams

Keller WilliamsKeller Williams is this happy-go-lucky guy about my age with mad guitar skills and an incredible live show involving loops. Lots and lots of loops. He takes a loop box, records a snippet of something with one guitar, loops that over the speakers and then tosses that instrument aside. Snatching up another, he lays down another loop, and then reaches for another instrument. Repeat. The end result is amazing. I wish I could find his live album, Loop, on the iTunes music store, but it doesn't seem to be up there yet. His studio recordings are great too, especially Laugh, which is a whole lot of fun. Think Dave Matthews Band, kindasortanotreally. Lots of guitars and fun lyrics. His most recent one, Home, is pretty good, but not quite as much fun as Laugh, IMHO.

Carbon Leaf

Carbon LeafCarbon Leaf, on the other hand, is sort of like an Americanized Great Big Sea. So much so, in fact, that they also do a version of Mary Mac on their live 2-disc set Five Alive (which is available on the iTunes store, and which I bought on a whim last night when I found out they're touring with GBS). Five Alive is the only album of theirs I've heard yet, but it sounds like a great place to start – I suspect this may be another one of those gotta-see-'em-live groups, because this live album is very impressive. Lightning-fast guitar pluckin', tight harmonies, and, again, a whole lot of fun and energy. Plus, there's an absolutely chilling tight-harmony gospel song near the end of the second disc called "Gloryland". Beautiful.

Who's on your ticket?

So, imagine your perfect musical festival lineup. While a U2/R.E.M./Counting Crows ticket would be cool (which reminds me of the Counting Crows/Gin Blossoms/Cracker show Jenny and Talon and I went to go see back in high school, which was one of my favorite concerts ever, right up there with the Eddie from Ohio/Great Big Sea/ Fighting Gravity show at Wolf Trap a couple years ago), an Eddie from Ohio/Keller Williams/Carbon Leaf/Great Big Sea concert would rock the block. (You can thank Ms. Vonderheid for introducing that ludicrous phrase into my vocabulary.) Any would-be concert promoters out there, please take note.

Who have you discovered lately? Who would be on your dream tour?

Keller Williams photo by Rebecca Montman. Carbon Leaf photo unceremoniously swiped from their website.

GEOFF!!! I hate to point it out man, but that show we saw with jenny was SPIN DOCTORS/Gin Blossoms/Cracker. Sorry dude... but you're right... it was a GREAT show!!! I'm gonna try to check out Carbon leaf!

Ah, crap. You're absolutely right! How the memory is the first thing to go...

Recently heard something off Apocalyptica's second album. Cellos doing Metallica, among otehr things. Surprisingly, stunningly good.

Eh... don't worry about it geoff... the mind... the hair (in my case both...) we're just getting old... buck up lil' soldier!!!

Harry... duh!

Carbon Leaf is fantastic. My favorite album is Echo Echo, so do check that one out. Their new one is out July 13, and was on Rhapsody's music service for about a week (has since been removed...sigh), and it's terrific.

Glad to find someone else who likes them!

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