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Folkadelphia Session: Brian Carpenter and the Confessions

Photo by Heather Byington.
Photo by Heather Byington.

I think it is telling that upon listening to Brian Carpenter and the Confessions, my audio engineer, Clark Conner and I starting naming a slew of diverse musicians and artists that the band reminded us of. We through out names like Willy Nelson, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, David Lynch, Johnny Cash, and beyond. If you could take those names, those vibes, and imagine an audio landscape built by their hands, I believe you’d fall upon what the Confessions channel. It’s dusty, dark, sparse, but lovely and thoughtful – the pessimistic side of Americana, staring at the half empty beer bottle in front of you.
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Elusive genre-bender Brian Carpenter touches down at Kung Fu Necktie

Brian Carpenter is a hard man to pin down – in several senses. For one, there’s the fact that he always seems to be juggling several projects at once. Then there’s the eccentric diversity of those projects, each of them uncategorizable in their own right and seemingly adrift in time. He originally made his name as the leader of Beat Circus, an ensemble that sounded like a circus’ resident jazz band and a Tom Waits-infected folk band riding parallel roller coasters in an abandoned carnival somewhere in the Gothic south. He then started the Ghost Train Orchestra, a jazz big band that sics modern Brooklyn jazz players on vintage charts from 1920s and ‘30s Harlem and Chicago. He’s also worked in radio and the theater in similarly genre-defying fashion. Continue reading →