Now in their 20th year of award-winning recording, all while consistently traversing America with their nonstop touring schedule, Carbon Leaf can look back at an impressive portfolio of achievements, as they continue to produce a steady stream of new music and tour throughout North America during 2011.
Hailing from Virginia, the same musically fertile purlieu that has nurtured the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Hornsby and Jason Mraz, Carbon Leaf's sound reflects a wide range of influences. Their unique blend of Folk-Rock, Americana, Celtic, Bluegrass, Rock and Pop certainly lends itself to a variety of genres. But the title of one of their early albums, Ether-Electrified Porch Music, seems to conjure the right image: An aura of warmth, with music punctuated by diverse instruments including mandolin, upright bass, violin, B3, rhodes and banjo, as well as acoustic and electric guitars.
Carbon Leaf's origins began as an independent band in 1992, eventually leading to a recording contract with Vanguard Records in 2004, resulting in three albums during their six years with the label. Along the way, Carbon Leaf has scored hit singles at AAA and Hot AC Radio with "Life Less Ordinary" and "The Boxer," placed first in the International Songwriting Competition, won an American Music Award, and recorded the music for Universal Pictures' Curious George 2 Soundtrack. Their voyage has come full circle, as Carbon Leaf produced two independent albums in 2010, including the wonderfully received holiday 'concept' album, Christmas Child.
Zak Smith Band
Zak Smith grew up in New Jersey and formed his signature style listening to rock, blues, alternative, folk, and Irish music. "He's got an amazing ability to incorporate the sounds of alternative rock with Americana to form his own signature sound... remember his name” (Gary Wien, "Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 from New Jersey Artists). In the tradition of songwriters such as Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello and Neil Young, Zak's lyrics are alternately evocative and cutting, contributing to and bolstering the power of the melodic hooks. His music has been described by critics as “haunting indie rock with Americana accents” (Berkeley Place), as “rocks with oodles of soul” (Muzik Reviews), and as "someone opening up their life to you" (Jersey Beat).
Playing mostly in the NYC area, 2011 was a great year of building a foundation on his way to spreading nationally. Zak has been on a couple successful east coast and international tours, received coast to coast buzz from his ep (Haunted Feet, released in January 2011), and has built some powerful new fan involvement. Full steam ahead, it looks to be a groundbreaking year for Zak Smith as he released a self-titled album April 28, 2012 at Rockwood Music Hall NYC.