Even if you don’t know the back story to Steve Carlson’s latest album, Different Town, you’ll immediately recognize that the music is coming from a unique place, literally. Recorded in 11 cities around the world, the overall feel of the album is very different from Carlson’s previous offerings. While the lyrics on many of the songs speak of loneliness, loss, and social issues there’s also a feeling of hope in them. I sense a man who has finally found his place and is comfortable with where his life is taking him.
If asked to pick a favourite, I don’t think I could narrow it down to just one. Each song has its own merits but the one that touches me deepest is the 3rd track, Castaway. As someone who travels and has moved far away from home, I could relate to the lyrics “Clouds may cover the sun, that’s when the journey’s begun.” Carlson sings about living the life he wants to lead, moving on when he feels a need to do so and how the important people in his life are going to be the ones who come along with him, either physically or in spirit.
Cover Me In Gold is another that I could single out. It has a very different sound to anything I’ve heard from Carlson before, and I find it compelling to listen to. It tells the story of a failed race-car driver and, while the music is what makes it stand out to me, there is one line that, to me, epitomizes Carlson’s ability to tell stories in a beautifully poetic manner: “There’s a shiny little box, underneath the bed. A harvester of sorrow filled with tiny little drops of lead.”
The often introspective lyrics and the intriguing phrasing of his music make me feel like I’m on a very personal journey with Carlson every time I listen, and with Different Town, that could actually be the case. When he planned to record the album on the road, he and his friends decided to also make a movie of his unique experiences. As the project grew, so did the expenses and it started to look as if putting the footage together would be out of reach. Carlson recently announced a Kickstarter campaign to help finish the process and see his efforts come to fruition. Once produced, he and film-maker Brent Florence plan to screen the movie in various cities, and funds raised over the target (a target that, in fact, was reached within a week of the campaign’s launch) will be used to tour with the album and have even more screenings.
I’m lucky enough to have seen Steve Carlson perform live a couple of times, and his passion for and pride in his craft are palpable; almost seeming to flow from the stage. A short video on his Kickstarter page teases what the full length movie will offer – an intimate look into Carlson’s journey and a behind the scenes peek at the hard work he puts into every album. If you haven’t already, check out the music he offers on Different Town and see if it’s a journey on which you’d also like to come along.
Information on the Different Town Kickstarter campaign can be found here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stevecarlson/different-town-the-film-0?ref=live