The best thing to know a musical artist is to listen to his music. Canadian Pop Rocker Carleton Stone talks to Sphere Music.
“Intensity is why I make music and it manifests itself on stage. I don’t consider the performance factor, I am just passionate about the music I make and hope it shows when I get up on stage and play.”-Carleton Stone
Robust vocals, energetic music and amazing stage persona-things that come to mind when you think of Carleton Stone. His second album is ready to soar on its own after he garnered a good reputation with the first one Carleton Stone Drives The Big Wheel (2009). Juno-award winning artist Hawksley Workman produced this self titled album. Because of the pop poet’s blessing, the album sounds slick but not over produced. There is still that raw edge that defines a pop rock album. The genius is clear in all the tracks.
How is the second album different from Drives The Big Wheel in terms of style and production?
It’s a much more mature record than Drives The Big Wheel was. I produced the first record my self so having Hawksley there steering the ship made it a much more polished record.
Can you cite your inspirations in creating and recording songs for Carleton Stone?
All of the co-writers I was working with were really very inspiring.
I got really involved in the co-writing process and being able to sit down with different people, from different backgrounds was a really great experience.
If someone comes up to you and asks you to describe your music, how would you describe it?
Its pop rock music with a country tinge. Smart pop songwriting for people who like music guided by guitar.
You have such passion in your stage performance. Intense is a good word for it. What gives you that power to share your music?
Intensity is why I make music and it manifests itself on stage. I don’t consider the performance factor, I am just passionate about the music I make and hope it shows when I get up on stage and play.
Can you share with us the memorable moments recording your second album?
The last day of tracking at the woodshed. We got everyone to come in from the week before to do group vocals and it turned out to be a celebration of the end of recording.
Sheets is another interesting song. I am sure everyone has been meaning to ask so let me roll the dice: what’s the story behind this one?
I wrote it with Emma-Lee and we were looking to write a fun, upbeat song. We also wanted to write a love song, but it ended up becoming more of a sensual song.
You came from Nova Scotia, same place same place where such fine artists like Sarah Mclachlan and Ashley MacIsaac came from. What can you say about this?
Being from Nova Scotia and especially Cape Breton, there isn’t a lot to do. There is music your blood. It is a part of everyone’s life and becomes almost second nature. I’m really not surprised that such talent has come out of here. Hopefully I will be able to keep the tradition alive.
What are the things you avoid before performing?
I avoid talking a lot in crowded rooms and try to make sure I am well rested before a show.
What’s your message your new converts(fans)
Glad you enjoy the album. I’m really proud of it and happy it has got a chance to reach new people. Hope you keep listening and thank you for the support.
You can get your own copy of Carleton Stone by Carleton Stone here: http://www.carletonstone.com/store/
Here are my own personal review of the tracks:
Last Thing with its anthemic power guitar rifts that can rock stadiums.
Moving On has that has that great intro and beautiful keyboard parts in between stanzas. It reminds me of songs Dire Straits, Marty Balin and Starship made.
Sheets is a potential hit with its amazing chord pattern and Carleton’s smooth voice. It is spiced with female backing vocals. If you combine everything along with the great arrangement, you get an elegant sheet of song you can wrap yourself into to shake the blues away.
Million Dollar Heart is co written by Workman and Stone and is Adult-alternative meets Country.
Never Felt a Thing is a ballad with a bluesy appeal. When you get to that part when he sings” I expected it to hurt but I never felt a thing” makes you pine for lost love.
Dominoes is Country pop with that nice line that goes” trouble comes in in a summer dress” and wailing guitar licks and rocking grooves.
Looks has a great tune that calls to mind the Beatles. This is a head rolling hip swaying track that is carefree, sweet and light- hearted.
Strong Medicine is another hyper track that sounds like it’s written in the fifties but got an aggressive makeover.
Fit Together is a song that reminbds you of going into a bar late at night to drown your sorrows.The gospel backing choir sounds consoling like a light in the dark.
Bad Decisions is a reflective track based on lap-steel and organ which builds up in a swath of crunchy guitars, choral ‘ooohs’ and stumping drums.
Gone has a gospel nod. This and its brother tracks Bad Decisions and Fit together make an amazing trio.
Thanks to the people of audioblood : Kate Snack, Tara Hitchman and Sari Delmar for getting the questions directly to Carleton Stone. You are awesome guys!