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MP3 Chad Carnahan - Leaving Nashville

Hank Williams meets Miles Davis

10 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Traditional Country, JAZZ: Jazz Fusion

For those listeners who think real country music means Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and Merle Haggard, this CD is for you. With a modern edge, this album stays firmly rooted in Country within a changing musical landscape. Opening with "Little Things", a radio-ready single that an A&R exec couldn''t ask more from, it quickly moves to "Leave the World Behind", an intimate ode to slowing down and refocusing on what is really essential. Warning songs take the next two spots and create an atmoshperic edge that''s as dark and real as the cemetery pictured on the cover. See if you can find the shiny red balloons popping on "You''re Gonna Lose It All". Followed by the plaintive vocals on "Behind Bars", these songs contain some life-changing moments. "Sleepin In My Truck" is obviously written from experience and, with the benefit of a choir of drunks and some rocking guitar work, sends you straight into a whiskey-soaked ride with all of your redneck friends. You''ll have flashbacks from this one, Guaranteed. It''s been said that Rock and Roll is Saturday night and Country is Sunday morning. All of the consequences of the night before are in sharp relief, usually hand-in-hand with a hangover. This honesty is evident in "I Only Know That I''m In Love With You". With just a guitar, this song would make Hank Williams proud, and if there was any doubt that this is a country record this will silence all the critics. This strong declaration is the exposed emotion and vulnerable heart of the album and is not to be missed. The tone of the album changes with the title song, "Leaving Nashville". This song is where the album pivots and begins to introduce other influences. Partly in response to the events already captured in the previous songs and partly out of necessity a decision has been made: the singer and the music are moving in new directions. The guitar solo recalls the jazz-influenced solos of Willie Nelson while remaining closer to modal jazz. Paralells with Grant Green have been observed, and it is easy to overlook how daring this pairing of styles is when you hear it; it sounds completely natural. The song ends where the next one begins: underneath a star over a diner on the interstate. "Interstate Diner Blues" was written with a composite person in mind: all of the Nashville hopefuls, stuck in nowhere jobs with their talent and hearts elsewhere, and the writer''s Grandmother who lives near Nashville. On a trip to her house, he was disgusted to find little orange flags in the front yard where the city had plans to widen the road to create a new interstate offramp which would be 200 yards from the house. Since the song has been written, the foundation for some type of building has already been poured. The guitar solo is from out of this world, reaching out and forward in anticipation of what is to come. "Interstate Diner Blues" is essentially an apocalyptic country song with strong overtones of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken", and sounds like you''re listening from the cab on an 18-wheeler, rolling endlessly on into the night. This spell is broken, however, with "Return". No words can really describe what happens here, but the song becomes a type of machine that pulls the curtain behind everything back for a moment, allowing a glimpse of something really timeless. Eternally optimistic, this song is unlike any of the other ones and may wind up being your favorite. It pitches you out at the sunrise in the first line of the last song, "Down the Road". The backbone of this song is a Mississippi John Hurt-style guitar pattern that opens up into a travelling folk blues and a breakdown straight from the barn. Some dark times are still heard here, but overcome with the sheer joy of knowing that you are on the right road, and are precisely where you''re supposed to be. This album is definitely a ride worth taking.

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