Carlton goes old school on new discWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t expect to see a wedding announcement for Vanessa Carlton. Her new single is “I Don’t Want to be a Bride.”
She sings, “I don’t need a house on a hill, swing on a tree/ Grandfather clock, porcelain for tea/ A garden with rose and jasmine/ Gonna get drunk on a bottle of wine/ No better way to pass the time/ Forever by your side/ But I don’t want to be a bride.”
“I had to crystallize how I really felt about it — commitment and love,” the singer-songwriter said. “In the end, it’s absolutely how I feel. It reminds me of those old storytelling country songs. I have so much respect for guys like Kris Kristofferson or Johnny Cash, how they paint a picture in one line; they don’t hide behind a lot of abstract stuff — it’s all in the searing details.”
Carlton was all about the details for “Rabbits on the Run,” her fourth disc, which was released in July.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to make another record. I said to myself, ‘If you’re going to make one, it better be pure arts and crafts,’ ” the pianist said during a call from a tour stop in New York. “I look at that as an expression of purity of process. I think as an artist, the more honest you are with whatever story you’re telling or perspective you have, the quality is different.”
The three-time Grammy nominee is best known for the hit, “A Thousand Miles.”
She knew it was special when she started writing: “It was always fun to play; it felt like trickling water. There’s something a bit fresh about it.”
She traveled to England to record her newest work at Real World Studios.
“I worked with Steve Osborne, who produced and engineered the record and has a room there he rents from Peter Gabriel. So I was just lucky that he led me to this magical spot,” Carlton said. “It was like a retreat, beautiful and isolating in all the ways it should be, and the English countryside — it literally looked like ‘Lord of the Rings.’ ”
The 31-year-old wanted a specific sound and recorded on analog tape.
“I decided that the records I connect to the most, the classical genre or rock, reggae or whatever, they’re all in my parents’ vinyl collection. And there’s also a warm aesthetic that I love,” she said. “[Recording to tape] affects the way that you play and the way that you prepare. You can’t keep hitting space bars; you better play what you mean, say what you mean.”
The classically trained musician focused on writing.
“I wanted the lyrics to be everything I hoped for them to be so I could look back on this record in 30 years, 40 years, as a much older woman, and be like, yeah, she was really on to something,” she said. “It definitely feels different.”
Carlton is touring to support “Rabbits on the Run” and will appear with Matt Nathanson on Oct. 12 at Clutch Cargo’s, 65 E. Huron St., Pontiac, Mich. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the all ages show. Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 the night of the concert.