Carsie Blanton | Not Old, Not New

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Jazz: Piano Jazz Moods: Solo Female Artist
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Not Old, Not New

by Carsie Blanton

Not Old, Not New is a collection of Carsie's favorite jazz songs from the first half of the 20th century. It's a sultry, slow, subtle record - the kind you might play while you throw a classy dinner party, or make sweet, sweet love.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Azalea
3:48 $0.99
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2. Laziest Gal in Town
3:33 $0.99
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3. Heavenly Thing
2:08 $0.99
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4. Two Sleepy People
2:54 $0.99
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5. You Don't Know What Love Is
4:40 $0.99
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6. What Is This Thing Called Love?
2:00 $0.99
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7. Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?
4:24 $0.99
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8. Sweet Lorraine
3:47 $0.99
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9. Don't Come Too Soon
3:27 $0.99
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10. I'll Be Seeing You
3:45 $0.99
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11. Not Old, Not New
0:45 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Singer-songwriter Carsie Blanton has always been a little unorthodox. She grew up listening to Leonard Cohen and John Prine; by the time she was 11 she was digging up old jazz records. When America was captivated by Britney and Christina, the soulful singer was poring through the Great American Songbook as interpreted by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone.

Not even 30, she's already self-released three full-length records, two EPs, and shot six videos — all independently; not to mention touring with legendary songwriters like Paul Simon and John Oates. For her latest record, the Kickstarter-funded Not Old, Not New, she’s recorded an album of jazz classics from the pre-bebop era. Not Old, Not New was recorded in Carsie's adopted hometown of New Orleans, produced by Grammy-winner John Porter (B.B. King, Taj Mahal), and features esteemed New Orleans players like Ellis Marsalis, David Torkanowsky (Irma Thomas), and Neal Caine (Harry Connick Jr.).

Raised on an ex-cattle farm in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia by her “wacky” parents, as she lovingly describes them, Carsie's creative approach stems in part from her unusual childhood. Her mother was a writer and computer programmer, and her father was a psychotherapist who wrote a series of books called Radical Honesty. "Our house doubled as a retreat center for my dad's workshops. We always had a house full of people who were learning how to be honest,” she recalled. "My dad also loved parties, so he was always throwing these big, three-day long events at our house."

Carsie's education—a form of homeschooling called "unschooling" — was equally offbeat. Unlike many homeschooling families, hers didn't adhere to a strict curriculum, allowing her to explore different subjects at her own pace, including music. At six, she began taking piano lessons, but when Lilith Fair-era singer-songwriters like Ani DiFranco and Joan Osborne emerged during her pre-teens, she ditched the keys for a guitar. "I would just sit on my floor and listen to these songs that I loved—folk and rock as well as jazz—and try to figure out how to play the chords so that I could sing them," she said. "I still don’t play chords correctly, but it worked. I cobbled it together."

Her musical curiosity is what led her down the road to recording Not Old, Not New. "I'm interested in what I would call 'American popular song' — a lineage that runs from ragtime and early jazz all the way up to what's happening now, like Beyonce and Bruno Mars," she said. "What it all has in common is that it's about telling a story, in a way that anybody can understand, in three minutes."

Carsie starting digging, and unearthed some lesser-known gems from the jazz era, many of them by well-known songwriters—such as "Laziest Gal in Town" penned by Cole Porter, and "Azalea," by Duke Ellington. She recorded these, along with more recognizable classics like "Sweet Lorraine" and "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?"

"This record is inspired by a brief moment in music, in the early '50s, just before bebop took over." she said. "A lot of great jazz vocal records came out at that time that were really relaxed, featured a lot of ballads, and weren't very improvisation heavy. I kept finding these recordings from that same time period—the Nat King Cole Trio recordings, Chet Baker Sings, Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson—and getting really obsessed with them."

The result is a perfect pairing of Carsie’s smoky, torch-singer vocals—all lazy phrasings and textured intonations that recall those of Nina Simone and Billie Holiday—with the sultry, slow grooves of Not Old, Not New, giving the record a fresh, yet instantly familiar feeling.

Many of the songs she covers—Hoagy Carmichael's "Two Sleepy People", and Julia Lee's "Don't Come Too Soon" — deal with love, romance, and sex, topics that Carsie also blogs about prolifically on her website, CarsieBlanton.com.

"A lot of my work is about sex, and some of it is also about love. I find the erotic spark - the thing that happens when people are attracted to each other—very inspiring. For me, that spark is not just about sex, but also music. The two go hand in hand, so it feels natural to write about both on my blog."

It's not surprising that Carsie took an unconventional path to get Not Old, Not New made. In August 2013, she ran a Kickstarter campaign, raising twice what she asked for. "Honestly, I was really thrilled that I got to pay these musicians what I think they're actually worth, as opposed to trying to haggle with everybody because I can't afford them," she said.

Carsie's also different than most of her musical peers in that she freely gives her music away — asking people to donate what they want. "I just had a kind of an epiphany, a 'come to Jesus' early on where I thought, if they want the music, I want them to have it," she said.

It’s all to expose more people to her life’s biggest passion: great songwriting. "I think the common thread of my music is that I'm very focused on the craft of writing songs," said Carsie. "and this album is no different. These are some of the best songs ever written, and I want to draw attention to them. Even eighty years later, they still feel fresh. As a songwriter, I know how much work it takes to make them feel that way - like they didn't take any work at all."

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