Carbon Leaf takes a breather with _Nothing Rhymes with Woman_

The group took a relaxed approach to compiling its new album.

Spencer Pearson / Graphic Designer

Carbon Leaf, a five-piece rock group from Richmond, Va., took some time off the road to write and record its most recent release, Nothing Rhymes with Woman.

After touring relentlessly, the band took a more laid back approach with its new album, contrasting how it has recorded in the past.

Vocalist Barry Privett said the group had six weeks to write and produce its previous album, Love Loss Hope Repeat.

"It was a really good exercise but it wasn't necessarily the way we wanted to record," Privett said.

The band members took advantage of their time away from performing and being able to participate in the writing process as a group.

"It was tough getting back into the writing mode," Privett said.

Carbon Leaf has a unique method of writing; the members will gather as a whole and write and jam until they play something that feels right. Often, they'll break up into groups of two or three and write individual parts. All of the music eventually gets funneled to Privett to come up with lyrics, themes and vocal parts.

"Then I'll take it and work on it and bring it back to the band and we'll work on it some more," Privett said. "When you're on the road a lot, you don't have the luxury of doing that necessarily. It was nice to be able to hang out in the same space for a while."

As far as inspiration goes, Privett said songs on Nothing Rhymes with Woman have a female perspective and illustrate things going on in the lives of some women he knows.

Songs, such as "Cinnamindy," tell the story of a struggling single mother trying to make ends meet, and "Pink" paints the picture of a women battling breast cancer have a more serious tone. Pieces, such as "Miss Hollywood" and "Another Man's Woman," have a more humorous take on a serious subject.

Privett said being able to balance time recording and on the road is always a challenge.

"Once you spend a year, year and a half recording, you gotta go out and you have to introduce it," Privett said. "It's a big world. You want to get as many people as possible, at the same time you can't be on the road 24/7. Having a balance is the toughest challenge."

On Nothing Rhymes with Woman, Carbon Leaf tackled the ever-difficult struggle of marrying two styles of music: a roots sound and elements of modern rock and pop. The group tried traditional instruments such as upright bass, mandolin and banjo to try to bridge the gap between the two genres but still make rock songs.

"I think we did that pretty well," Privett said.

Privett said the album was a refresher for the group.

"After a while you can start to run around so much doing things bands do that you start to get away from the core thing, which is writing and being able to take time," Privett said.

He said two hours on stage performing a concert can be the ultimate form of relaxation.

"It can be the worst day possible, but the best part is just the show and connecting people," Privett said, Carbon Leaf will be playing at 8 p.m. Feb. 20 at Mojo's. Tickets are $12.

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