Some bands insist on dragging listeners into their world, but Richmond, VA's Carbon Leaf works towards a more admirable and considerably more difficult goal – that of letting perfect strangers feel that the band understands their world. Since 1992, the band has succeeded in doing just that -- and on its third Vanguard release, Nothing Rhymes With Woman, has created a soundtrack suitable for multiple worlds.
“For me, this is an album that’s focused on growth and maturity, but it’s not deadly serious,” says front man Barry Privett. “I wanted to examine my life and the lives of my family and friends and do it with a little bit of a wink. The last thing I wanted to do was get all dark and overwrought.”
Privett and his bandmates dodge that pitfall with aplomb on Nothing Rhymes With Woman, the much-anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed 2006 offering Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat. As ever, the quintet -- recently joined by drummer Jason Neal, a veteran of the southeast’s club circuit, and Seattle bassist Jon Markel -- challenge themselves and listeners by steadfastly refusing to retrace old steps, bringing in like-minded collaborators (like Toby Lightman, who brings a burnished tone to her vocal parts on the gritty “Meltdown”) and taking off in plenty of new directions of their own accord.