By Courtney Devores
Charlotte transplant Carrie Marshall is among the five songwriters featured at Matthews Alive's Songwriter Sunday - part of the Labor Day weekend family-friendly cultural festival's live music schedule. Marshall's latest release is "Home," which finds the singer-songwriter delving into original material written in the style of jazz standards.
She's written and arranged "Home" in the cinematic style of Burt Bacharach or Cole Porter filtered through `70s AM pop, which today translates to easy listening, smooth jazz, and at times adult contemporary. It's classic, but it's also new. That's what's really exciting about "Home." Marshall has made the kind of record we don't hear often outside of artists like Diana Krall and Norah Jones. And "Home" is done extremely well with assists from producer/percussionist Jim Brock (Kathy Mattea), Van Sachs, Terry Peoples, and Mark Stallings. Marshall and this handful of co-writers and musicians have crafted an extremely polished, classic-sounding record in that style without making something that comes across as kitschy or retro.
Vocally it's obvious Marshall is capable of belting out country, pop, and gospel as well as the jazz and blues that fill her current repertoire. On "Home" she brings to mind contemporary jazz singers like Krall as well as some of the biggest voices of the `70s - Carole King, Carly Simon, Rita Coolidge, and a pre "Grease" Olivia Newton-John for instance. But while she shares qualities with those singers she carves out her own sound, while remaining stylistically versatile.
"Sentimental Journey," for instance, is a nod to vocal groups like the Andrews Sisters with Marshall handling all the harmonies, demonstrating her range and versatility. More, please!
The music throughout is subtle and Marshall's voice is lovely, but never over-the-top. You can clearly hear, for instance, each snare hit, cymbal shimmy and the low thump of walking bass on "Over the Moon." The fills are never showy on songs like "Carry On," a sunny, sing-songy track. "Don't Forget About Me" is a sultry samba laced with sax, piano, and guitar fills. There's a feeling of discovery and newness - as if she's observing places she's never been before or forcing a sunny outlook in the face of a new day - on songs like "Twelve Trinity Square" and "Carry On."
Marshall isn't solely a jazz singer though. Knowing that, "Home" seems like it might be a self-imposed challenge for a seasoned singer-songwriter and music instructor to see if she could create a new collection that may easily be mistaken for jazz standards. If that was the case, she certainly meets the challenge.
BIG HAT LARRY'S
by Chris Montgomery
Oct 17, 2013
Veteran recording artist Carrie Marshall drives it home as a jazz singer-songwriter! There is little doubt fans will get lost inside the array of refreshing vocal arrangements. Her fresh and clean vibe is ideal for a romantic dinner or an evening backdrop with close friends.
The aptly titled HOME features eleven tracks. Each song captures Marshall's signature jazz style laced with hints of R&B. "Thoughts Unspoken" puts the listener in mind of a smoky Havana bar, complete with sweat-stained suits and wicker ceiling fans. The imagery continues with "Twelve Trinity Square" and "Let the Heavens Say", with the exquisite singer tickling the ivories at the grand piano.
"Seven After Eleven" and "Sunny Day" have a mellow tone, reminiscent of fellow North Carolinian James Taylor. "Red Rose" incorporates a sultry, seductive feel with a touch of the blues.
Surprisingly, the standard "Over the Moon" was written in 2013, not 1940 as some might assume, with its reminiscent jazz standard, classic feel. Inspired by the birth of Marshall's nephew, there are clever references to the old nursery rhyme “Hey, Diddle, Diddle” woven within this feel-good, love song.
"Don't Forget About Me", is a rousing samba-like treat, including saxophone and guitar interludes. You can almost see the artist smiling while performing "Sentimental Journey", (a tribute to the Andrew Sisters) and "Carry On", although both share old memories and wintery seasons.
"There's A Long, Long Trail" is the perfect final page of a scrapbook full of musical photographs. Originally written in 1913, the artist gives this WW1 era song her own stylistic twist, while recalling days as a preacher's kid, playing out of tune pianos in old, musty church foyers.
An award-winning ensemble makes the difference. Jim Brock, a legendary percussionist, drummer and producer, produced and mixed the album. Bassist Terry Peoples assisted with arranging songs along with guitarist Van Sachs, who was the first to introduce Marshall to the Charlotte music scene. Brad Bailey, yet another collaborator and frequent performing partner, lent his talent on guitar to many of the tracks. Craig Nelson can be heard on the upright bass. Nashville producer, songwriter and guitarist Paul Buono, added his touch by recording vocals, guitar and added production as well as co-writing a couple tunes. Saxophonist Gabriel Bello, keyboardist Mark Stallings and and Nashville
Symphony Flugelhorn player, Steven Patrick rounded out finishing touches.
Simply put, both followers and newcomers will be happy to add selections to their audio libraries. Carrie Marshall delivers. These days that's hard to find, but it’s definitely something to write home about.
"In “Home” she’s created a collection of originals that play like standards. It’s a versatile record that riffs on the Andrews Sisters and Burt Bacharach as well as the contemporary jazz of Diana Krall (minus the brass and smoke) or Norah Jones filtered through 1970s AM pop singers like Carly Simon, Carole King, and pre-“Grease” Olivia Newton John."
- Courtney Devores
"Take a little Diana Krall, add some southern blue-eyed soul, shake over ice & pour, and you've got a most tasty album!"
Randy Franklin and the Sardines
"We always look for the very best in all our endeavors, and Carrie Marshall is the very best in the Jazz Music World Today."
Trump National Charlotte
"You sound terrific! Keep doing what you're doing..."
Charlotte Today, NBC
"Carrie Marshall's...already made quite the impression in the local music scene."
- Page Leggett
Lake Norman Magazine
"She's really great. You see that right there and go, 'Why is she not nationally known?'"
WCNC NBC News
"The jazz singing, piano player delivers a classic and romantic style that’s gaining popularity locally."
- Laura Fenton Pidge
Ft. Mill Magazine
" Carrie Marshall is one of the best talents we have the pleasure of working with. A true professional!"
- Brandon Crumpton
Key Signature Entertainment