Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

Emerging Artists Showcase

Featuring the Talents of Carsie Blanton, Jann Klose, Catlin Canty and Barnaby Bright - Music on Main Street: The Barron Arts Center, Woodbridge, NJ - October 18, 2012

By Phil Rainone

There’s something about a human voice that’s personal. Summoned through the belly, hammered into form by the throat, given propulsion by the lungs, finally formed by the tongue and lips, a vocal is a kind of audio kiss, a blurted confession, and in this case a musical confession. Every time out it can be crazy-clumsy, as Tom Waits guarantees on “Jersey Girl;” or beautifully reminiscent, like Springsteen on “Girls in Their Summer Clothes.” As symphonic as Patti Griffin’s “Beautiful Day,” or Tim Buckley’s song about leaving your thoughts and heartbreak behind like on “Forget Her.” At The Barron Arts Center this night, Griffin, Springsteen, Waits, and Buckley were spiritually sitting in the front row nodding their collective approval. As a matter of fact, Jann Klose was chosen to sing Tim Buckley’s songs in an upcoming movie. So that connection adds even more mojo to the mix.

Opening for what was four half-hour sets with a brief intermissions in-between, Carsie Blanton opened with her bass player Joe Plowman. If I were pressed for a comparison, their opening number “First Kiss” had the vibe of a Patti Griffin. Carsie’s voice can be angelic, with a hint of grit, but the bottom line is, she’s strikingly original.
Joe Plowman played a standup bass that looked like a piece of finished piece furniture which fit in nicely with all the hard wood, stained glass windows, and arched ceiling that the Barron Arts Center is known for.

Carsie introduced “Idiot Heart” as a kind of funny tribute to Mr. Magoo (60’s cartoon character, his biggest role was playing Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. He was always portrayed as the poor soul who everyone felt sorry for). The tune had a kind of low-key rockabilly riff running though it that had the 90 plus fans almost ready to get up out of their seats and dance. It didn’t hit me until the third artist came on, but this was not going to be your traditional “singer/songwriter night.” As the show progressed “eclectic” and “obscure” would work well to describe what we heard.

Carsie played most of her new album Idiot Heart (, and again, like at the David Johansen/Brian Cooney show the week before, you could almost hear a pin drop during their performance. “Smoke Alarm” (with lines like, “Everyone you’ve ever known is headed for a headstone,” it was actually an upbeat story), “Back Seat,” “Chicken (the tune had a nice Wanda Jackson vibe to it),” and “Backbone,” all felt like old touchstones, even though they were brand new to most of us. Her phrasing, passionate vocals, and spirit flowed through every song, and she had a cool sense of humor to boot. She also offered her new CD as, “Pay what you what to pay,” which had a lot of people back by her merch table throughout the night.

Barnaby Bright got their name from back in the Medieval Times. The Solstice was called “Barnaby Bright” (they had the band’s name spelled out on a kids light bright screen-nice touch), being the summer or winter solstice representing good/bad, light/dark, opened with a midtempo song that they said was, “One of our few depressing songs.“ “Highway 9” did not disappoint, it had some gloom and doom lyrics weaved into the bright gangly number. What also helped propel the song was its misery-loves-company was the line, “I want to get higher than Keith Moon.” Amazing stuff and this was only their first song!
“Castle Rock” had a slinky Everly Brothers style intro that turned into an upbeat semi- rocker. Witn limited space to move around in, our toes were tappin, and heads were boppin.’ Fun stuff!

They followed that with a Billie Holiday number “Fine and Mellow,” for which they used a banjo and an acoustic guitar. Man, you would have never known the song was one of Holiday’s jazzy, orchestrated showcase numbers. Barnaby Bright turned it into a sweet, country influenced number, with the lead singer adding her vocals as a honey-throated wail.

Caitlin Canty opened with “Poor House,” which had the vibe of a Lucinda Williams tune. It was full of deep pain and frustration, enveloped by a low-twangy, guitar run. She took the audience on a trip through her roots (folk, soul, blues, and whatever she felt like at the time), combining songs and short storytelling. Each artist had a thirty minute set, but actually each one could have probably done an hour or so as it seemed like they left us wanting more after their final song. Caitlin Canty’ set was inspiring, as she aspired to bring us to a new musical territory. One of the most interestingly beautiful lines of the entire evening was from Caitlin: “You have to separate the stars from the city light.” Simply amazing!

Jann Klose fired up minimalist leads on his acoustic guitar that added a ballsy edginess to his sometimes soothing, sometimes throaty vocal prowess. His backing band was ready at a moment’s notice to add or subtract for the music. Versatile, strong, and vulnerable when needed, they could bring you to the highest highs or lowest lows. At times Jann’s guitar seemed like a beacon of light, helping to guide him through each song. It was hard to tell where the melody was coming from, as both his vocals and his guitar seemed to be reaching, and stretching to show and to grow his musical DNA.

The depth of the singer’s voice touches you in places that are as personal as the place from which it originated. One of the measures for me for what defines a singer is the ecstasy of surrender they inspire. They can find our vulnerability that we thought we had armored long ago. There’s something about Jann’s voice that’s personal, yet universal. Songs like “Beautiful Dream,” “All These Rivers,” or “Waiting for the Wave,” were performed like they were made to guide you through the material world with an eye toward a better place in life.

They covered Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren,” with the dedication of a band that wanted to get it right, yet, branch out into unexplored territory. When they play you go somewhere in your mind-you definitely don’t just sit in your seat.
Usually, when there’s a show featuring all singer/songwriters you kind of expect at some point for it to start sounding the same. On this night, the way diversity, complexity, and simplicity were all woven into each artists set in was amazing. Four unique, fun, and interesting artists took us to our heart of hearts. is an independently published music fanzine covering punk, alternative, ska, techno and garage music, focusing on New Jersey and the Tri-State area. For the past 25 years, the Jersey Beat music fanzine has been the authority on the latest upcoming bands and a resource for all those interested in rock and roll.

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