Benjamin Carr - Oakleaf
- Artist: Benjamin Carr
- Album: Oakleaf
- Label: indie
- Year of Release: 2011
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: solitaryman on 2011-10-26
Like a vacation in Hawaii or a drive across the Pacific Coast, Oakleaf is a breezy, natural musical sojourn crafted by a journeyman multi-instrumentalist, Ben Carr. Of course, the imagery is lost in the eye of the beholder, and what you take from Oakleaf will be a truly individual experience, I reckon. Disregarding a single line of musical thought, Carr's musical history shows Oakleaf running the gamut from funk, jazz, and traditional rock and rock structures. Sometimes all within the soft breath of a single track.
While it can be said of any album's worth of material, an ecclectic and somewhat minimalistic one like Oakleaf depends strongly upon pace and overall construction. As in, which song goes where, etc. However minor this may seem (you, after all, can re-envision any album's track list in whatever order you deem worthy), Oakleaf has a wonderful flow to it, beginning to end. "Apple Dance" is a catchy, upbeat ukelele-centered number, with a similarly inspired line of percussion in accompaniment. Where Apple Dance moves, "Cousin Ellnit" decides to rest, a welcome and soulful pitstop. The title track proper shows how comfortable Ben is on the uke, aptly crafting an ever-morphing melody that builds into a crescendo before cresting into a more peaceful place. "Ellioit's Lullably" is much more solemn, contemplative and reflective in it's soft uke patterns, a sleepy and dreamy detour. Beyond the name, "A Conversation With The Tides" can easily be seen composed on the golden sands of a tropical shore, it has a sort of beachfront vibe to it that I cannot totally relate without just saying, "listen and close your eyes". "Lemon Drops" is a wonderful, percussive change of pace, and my blatant ignorance of world music leads me to dub the sound of the track as "tribal". Very rootsy, at the very least. "Funky Uke" isn't lying, and the track hss a strong and clean jazz vibe that is ridiculously easy to tap your toes along with. "Riff'a'Driff" has to be my favorite song, as it lies more close to my own musical sensibilities, sounding like a jazz band's reckoning of a variety of classic rock standards. Excellently written and performed, this song has so much to offer it will take multiple listens to truly appreciate it.
A true talent behind seemingly any type of guitar and an inspired and very rhythmatic drummer, Ben Carr is seemingly the epitome of the independent, do-it-yourself mentality. Oakleaf is an easy-to-digest, soulful, delightfully eccentric mix of styles, heavy on substance and quality writing. This is rather far from my normal listening experience, but that someone of my tastes can appreciate and enjoy something like this has to bode well for those out there who actively seek out more natural, softer and wordly blends of music.
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on 2011-09-21 hstisgod Said:
saw the ad at the top, took a chance and really enjoy the stripped down simplistic values done at an energetic pace.