Loving Vanessa Carlton comes with baggage. Not as much as if you were a Hanson fan. But there’s still something people find scoffable about the “A Thousand Miles” songstress. While she’s certainly grown up and expanded her sound in the 14 years since that first hit single, it’s the song that will continue to haunt the flowery Folk/Pop singer.
But Carlton’s Billboard-topping days shouldn’t taint how one takes in the beauty and quirkiness of her newest album, Liberman. One of the first singles, “Blue Pool,” has all the tinkering piano and sweet-voiced singing you’d find in a Regina Spektor song. Mix in some grungy guitar and an assortment of lyrical journeys capable only of coming from a woman’s darkest mind-places and it’s hard not to notice contemporary influences like St. Vincent, as well. Liberman also has songs like “Take It Easy” that still sound undeniably like the piano-playing girl from 2001 — except less fairy-tale-believing and more weathered.
You see, Carlton, like Spektor and St. Vincent, is a grown woman. In the 14 years since that blasted love song, she’s traveled the globe, had a few heartbreaks, looked loss in the eyes and come face-to-face with failures. Liberman, lovingly named after her grandfather, is just as grown, sometimes cynical and strong as anything you’d expect from those aforementioned Indie queens, only with a little more baggage for a listener to lug along on the journey.
Carlton’s Cincinnati show is not only the first date on her current tour in support of Liberman, it’s also the first concert at new local club Live at the Ludlow Garage, located in the building that once housed famed late ’60s/early ’70s Clifton venue Ludlow Garage.
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