Carbon Leaf
Jan. 30, 2007
The Independent
, CA

When I was in fifth grade, I took flute lessons. I was awful. And ever since, I’ve had a secret soft spot in my for anyone who can play the flute well, a soft spot born entirely of awe. So last night, when I went to go see Carbon Leaf, expecting just a show, I was star-struck by the incorporation of several flutes (along various other folk instruments) into the alterna-rock band’s performance. And this wasn’t all that impressed me about the performance of a band that I admit I hadn’t heard before last night.

’s been playing together for long enough to have come together in that seamless way where they highlight each other’s strengths. I’m one of the few people I know who loves but does not like long drawn-out acoustic solos. What can I say – I’m a lyrics kind of girl. But Carbon Leaf does solos well – using different songs to emphasize the solo strengths of each performer so that you get the acoustic experience mingled in throughout the show.


Despite the way compliments each other, the lead singer does stand out on his own. He is a performer. Watching him move about the stage, I was constantly struck by the thought that he reminded me of a musician in a movie. At first, I thought this was due to the fact that he bears a strikingly beautiful resemblance to the character Kitten from the film Breakfast on Pluto, but I came to see that it was due less to this resemblance and more to the way that performed instead of just singing. It was distracting at first, but by the end of the show, it was entirely enchanting, truly making the show stand out as a multi-sensory experience of music.

Worth noting is that the opening act for the band was Toby Lightman, a songstress who gave a performance which made me glad that I’d arrived early for the show. Her small frame bounced around easily on stage and she moved easily her own music, emanating a sense of youthful However, her voice has a quality which is reminiscent of the strength of female vocals from other eras.

Toby showed up at a couple 2006 festivals but is doing some on her own. She will be opening for Carbon Leaf through mid-February. See these and her other here. Carbon Leaf will continue in promotion of their recent CD release, “Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat” – see here.

We just got around to gettin’ this posted first this morning even though it was written late last week. Sorry for the delay, folks…


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