music / Columns

Jam Central Station: Carbon Leaf at the Kent Stage – 4.20.19 – Kent, OH

April 28, 2019 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski

jcslogo

jcsheadliners

Carbon Leaf is a band that has truly done things their own way. With over 25 years worth of music and a willingness to pull from every era of the band when they play live, they can always surprise and excite their fans. They brought their “Hindsight Is 2019, Looking Past The Future” tour to the Kent Stage on 4/20 for a 2 hour crowd pleasing show. As the tour name implied, the band had no problem looking both backwards and forwards throughout the night.

One thing the band has done very well over their career is engage their fanbase, and that was apparent at this show. While the band were never radio darlings (which I never understood why they weren’t) they have cultivated a base that knows every word to their songs and shows tremendous passion. The Ohio fans were out in force for this one, filling most of the venue and truly turning the show into a Saturday night party.

The band opened the set withthe mellow “Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat”, seeming to want to ease into the night. They went back and forth between newer songs and older tunes, hitting “What About Everything” early in the night but also pulling out lesser known songs like “Alcatraz” and the instrumental “Morrison’s Jig.” The early energy came when they played “The Gathering” from their 2017 EP of the same name. This energy continued with the run of “American Tale,” “One Prairie Outpost,” “Desperation Song,” and “Life Less Ordinary.” Frontman Barry Privett does a great job evoking emotion in everything he does on stage, and these classic Carbon Leaf songs still resonate from the stage. Musically, multi-instrumentalist Carter Gravatt adds the unique flair to what the band does and picks just the right spots for his mandolin, fiddle, slide guitar, or any of the other instruments he plays. It’s this unique flair that helps keep Carbon Leaf fresh when compared to other acoustic-style rock outfits.

The acoustic elements don’t mean this band can’t bring the rock when they choose. “X-Ray” was a straight-up rock tune and “She’s Gone” and “The Donneybrook Affair” were both high-energy songs with Carbon Leaf’s Celtic flair and Barry’s signature rapid-fire vocals. After a solid “Raise The Roof” and “Lake of Silver Bells” the band gathered around a single microphone for “Comfort” and “Miss Hollywood.” This is something they’ve been doing for awhile and, while it’s a cool visual, unfortunately not every room is really set up for this and it was hard to hear a lot of the music. It did highlight the band’s impressive harmonizing however.

When the band turned back to their full setup they went back to their Gathering EP for the first time since early in the set with “Come Sunday Morn” and “Bow and Arrow.” Barry continued to make his mark with his on-stage energy while Carter’s fiddle and Jesse’s drums were more than enough to create a foot-stomping experience for the crowd. They closed out the main part of the set with a “Let Your Troubles Roll By” sing-along and left the stage, while the crowd immediately started cheering for the encore. The band didn’t disappoint, delivering an excellent four song encore, starting off with an extended version of “Maybe Today” that saw Barry at his most introspective, delivering an emotional rendition that had the crowd enraptured. After that the band tore through a pair of their best-known songs with “The Boxer” and the blistering “Mary Mac.” The band came back to the front of the stage for the set-closing “Gifts From The Crows,” delivered completely acoustically with no amplification.

Carbon Leaf has always successfully toed the line of being not quite a jam band, but able to live comfortably in that world. While this certainly wasn’t a “jam show,” the band showed the type of creativity and musicianship that has allowed them to make their mark as a live touring band. They were open to improvisation and even adjusting their setlist on the fly. The crowd consisted of mostly long-time fans who were open to following the band in whatever direction they wanted to go, and the band fed off of their energy. As someone who’s been following the band over 15 years it’s clear that they haven’t lost a step and continue to find new ways to reach their fans.

jcsroad

jcsevents

Domefest
May 16-18
Marvin’s Mountaintop
Masontown, WV
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (x5), Aqueous, Litz, Mungion, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers

DelFest
May 23-26
Cumberland, MD
The Del McCoury Band, The String Cheese Incident, The Travelin’ McCourys, Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth, The Marcus King Band, Billy Strings

Summer Camp Music Festival
May 23-26
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Big Gigantic, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Trampled by Turtles, Blues Traveler, Lotus, TAUK, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Spafford, ALO

Dark Star Jubilee
May 24-26
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
3 nights of Dark Star Orchestra, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Leftover Salmon, Billy Strings, Dumpstaphunk, The Lil’ Smokies, Donna the Buffalo, The Nth Power

Camp Greensky
June 6-8
Wellston, MI
Greensky Bluegrass (3 nights), Del & Dawg, Stephen Marley, Billy Strings, Hiss Golden Messenger, Circles around the Sun, Ghost Light, The Rebirth Brass Band, Bombino

Bonnaroo
June 13-16
Manchester, TN
Phish, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, GRiZ, Nahko & Medicine for the People, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Jim James, Trampled By Turtles, The Wood Brothers, Shovels & Rope, The Record Company

Mountain Jam
June 13-16
Bethel Woods
Bethel, NY
Willie Nelson & Family, Phil Lesh & Friends, Gov’t Mule, The Avett Brothers, The Revivalists, Twiddle, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Dispatch, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Michael Franti & Spearhead

Keller in the Caverns
June 21-23
Pelham, TN
2 Keller Williams performances as well as Pettygrass, More Than A Little, and a Grateful Gospel Brunch

Telluride Bluegrass Festival
June 20-23
Telluride, CO
Brandi Carlisle, Sam Bush Band, Jim James, Greensky Bluegrass, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon: Stories from the Living Room, Punch Brothers, Railroad Earth

Electric Forest
June 27-30
Double JJ Ranch & Resort
Rothbury, MI
3 nights of The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Lettuce, The Floozies, TAUK, Spafford, Twiddle, Ghost Light, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Nth Power, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

Smoky Run Music Festival
June 28-30
Butler, OH
Gov’t Mule, Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth, Deer Tick, Son Volt, The Travelin’ McCoury’s & Jeff Austin Band present Grateful Ball, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Rumpke Mountain Boys

moe.down
July 4-6
Snow Ridge Ski Resort
Turin, NY
moe., Drive By Truckers, Spafford, God Street Wine, Everyone Orchestra, Cory Wong, Max Creek

High Sierra
July 4-7
Quincy, CA
Greensky Bluegrass, Umphrey’s McGee, Dispatch, Del McCoury Band, Jim James, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Galactic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, TAUK, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, ALO, Marcus King Band

4848 Festival
July 11-13
Snowshoe Mountain
Snowshoe, WV
Greensky Bluegrass, Umphrey’s McGee, The Infamous Stringdusters, Lettuce, Railroad Earth, Marcus King Band, Billy Strings, Turkuaz, Fruition

Ride Festival
July 12-14
Telluride, CO
Widespread Panic, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Big Something

Camp Bisco
July 18-20
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA

FloydFest 19 “Journey Home”
July 24-28
Floyd, VA
Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, The String Cheese Incident, Brandi Carlile Tyler Childers, Margo Price, Fantastic Negrito, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grace featuring Love Cannon

Peach Music Festival
July 25-28
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA
Phil Lesh & Friends, Trey Anastasio Band, The String Cheese Incident, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, moe., Greensky Bluegrass, Lotus, Lettuce, Infamous Stringdusters, Yonder Mountain String Band, Allman Betts Band, Billy Strings

Werk Out
August 1-3
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
The Werks, Big Gigantic, Claypool Lennon Delirium, The Floozies, Twiddle, Matisyahu, Turkuaz, Melvin Seals & JGB

Woodstock 50
August 16-18
Watkins Glen, NY
Dead & Co., Santana, Robert Plant & The Sensational Shape Shifters, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlisle, Hot Tuna, Gary Clark Jr., John Fogerty, Margo Price, Marcus King Band.

Lockn’ Festival
August 22-25
Arrington, VA
Trey Anasasio Band w/ Derek Trucks, Tedeschi Trucks Band w/ Trey Anastasio, Bob Weir & Wolf Bros. w/ Susan Tedeschi, Otiel & Friends w/ Bob Weir, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, The Revivalists, Gary Clark Jr., Old Crow Medicine Show, moe., Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Twiddle

Borderlands Festival
September 21-22
Knox Farm State Park, NY
Greensky Bluegrass, Gov’t Mule, Shakey Graves, Mavis Staples, The Wood Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Keller Williams Grateful Grass, Rayland Baxter

Strings & Sol
December 12-16
Puerto Morelos, Mexico
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, The Del McCoury Band, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Jennifer Hartswick, Natalie Cressman

Jam Cruise
January 7-12
Miami, FL

jcsencore

Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!