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Carbon Leaf

Carbon Leaf
Carbon Leaf performing live at the Bluebird Theater in Denver, CO, 2009
Background information
Origin Richmond, Virginia
Genres Indie rock, alt country, folk rock, Indie Folk, bluegrass, roots rock, Celtic
Years active 1992–present
Labels Constant Ivy Music, Vanguard
Members Barry Privett
Terry Clark
Carter Gravatt
Jason Neal
Jon Markel
Past members Palmer Stearns
Devin Maguire
Brian Durrett
Scott Milstead
Jordan Medas

Carbon Leaf is a five-piece band from Richmond, Virginia, United States, known for their alt-country, Celtic, and folk-infused Indie Rock.

Band members

Former band members

  • Palmer Stearns: Bass
  • Devin Maguire: Bass[2]
  • Scott Milstead: Drums, percussion, vocals
  • Brian Durrett: Bass
  • Jordan Medas: Electric bass, bowed and double bass, vocals

1992–2004: The Constant Ivy Music years

Carbon Leaf got their start at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia in 1992 practicing in an auditorium on campus. Their next step was playing backyard parties, mixers, fraternity, and sorority parties. Shortly after everyone graduated they moved to Richmond, Virginia. From Richmond, they played the college circuit in Virginia and up the East Coast before moving on to clubs. Their style is not "Brazilian Polka Metal", despite the joking claims of guitarist Carter Gravatt (B., David. 2002).[3]

Meander, their first album, was released in 1995. The first songs Carbon Leaf wrote, including "One Day" and "Country Monkee" are on the album.

Shadows in the Banquet Hall, released in 1997, includes "Flood," "Wolftrap and Fireflies," and "Attica's Flower Box Window." An award winning video was made for "Flood."[citation needed]

Ether~Electrified Porch Music (1999) is the first album with Jordan Medas as the bassist and contains "Home" and "American Tale." The band had sold over 10000 copies of their first three independent CDs by late 1999, released on their own label, Constant Ivy Music.[4]

Echo Echo was released in 2001 with "The Boxer" as the first track. In January 2002 Carbon Leaf won the first-ever American Music Awards Presents the Coca-Cola New Music Award for "The Boxer."[5] As part of winning they performed "The Boxer" live on the AMAs, becoming the first unsigned band to perform at the awards show.[6] Following this appearance, "The Boxer" entered regular rotation on radio stations including Washington, DC's DC101 (WWDC 101.1 FM). In May 2002 the band members gave up their day jobs in order to dedicate more time to the band and touring. The hidden bonus track "Dear" from their Echo Echo CD was originally written to play over the closing credits and on the soundtrack of the Kevin Hershberger civil war film Wicked Spring.[7][8] Barry Privett also starred in the film.[9][10] In September 2002, Carbon Leaf won the Pontiac Vibe Summer Sound Off resulting in "The Boxer" being played in Pontiac Vibe commercials on MTV and VH1.[11]

In January 2003 Carbon Leaf gave permission for fan-made recordings of their concerts to be included in the Live Music Archive, a part of the Internet Archive.[12] Various concerts are available from 2000 to present in lossless formats SHN or FLAC and the lossy format VBR MP3, with the majority coming from the years 2002 - 2004. 5 Alive!, Carbon Leaf's first live album, was released in the summer of 2003. The album was recorded over five concerts during the autumn and winter of 2002 with the track list assembled to match a concert playlist.

2004–2010: The Vanguard Records years

In Spring 2004, Carbon Leaf signed with Vanguard Records,[13] part of the Welk Music Group and in July of that year released their album, Indian Summer. "Life Less Ordinary" rose to number 5 on the Adult Album Alternative charts and 29 on the Hot AC Charts. Carbon Leaf performed "Life Less Ordinary" on the November 30, 2004 episode of The Dr. Phil Show.[14] "What About Everything?" rose to 25 on the AAA charts. Indian Summer has been ranked in the top 10 by KMTT in Seattle, and number 40 out of the Top 50 Albums of 2004 by WXPN in Philadelphia. The album was produced by John Morand and David Lowery. The video for "Life Less Ordinary" debuted on January 5, 2005.

In June 2006, an interview with Carbon Leaf guitarist Terry Clark was chosen as the cover feature for the inaugural issue of The Green Room magazine. On September 12, 2006, the band released Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat. According to their blog, it was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, and mixed in collaboration with producer Peter Collins and Trina Shoemaker.[15] The title track was featured in the October 30, 2006, episode of ABC's What About Brian. Tom McCormack began touring with Carbon Leaf, playing keys and accordion.

Carbon Leaf played at Sudflood 2007, and dedicated their performance to the memory of the lives lost in the Virginia Tech shootings.[16] All proceeds went towards the memorial fund for the victims and their families.

In August 2007, Scott Milstead was replaced by Jason Neal on drums. In August 2008, Jordan Medas left the band to pursue a teaching career. He was replaced in October 2008 by Jon Markel.[17]

The band released their seventh studio album, Nothing Rhymes with Woman, on May 19, 2009.[18] On June 30, 2009 Carbon Leaf was the featured band at Red Rocks' Film On The Rocks.[19]

The producers of Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey! were using an acoustic version of "Life Less Ordinary" as a placeholder in the film. The request to license it snowballed into wanting to license additional songs and ultimately a request that Carbon Leaf do the majority of the soundtrack.[20] Carbon Leaf contributed several songs to the soundtrack for the animated film, including versions of "Life Less Ordinary" and "Let Your Troubles Roll By" with new lyrics and "The Friendship Song". The soundtrack, and the direct-to-DVD movie, was released on March 2, 2010.[21]

Carbon Leaf has played with many acts, including Dave Matthews Band, Something Corporate, O.A.R., and David Gray, and have toured with Jason Mraz, Blues Traveler, Great Big Sea, Jump, Little Children, Matt Nathanson, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, The Avett Brothers, Guster and Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers.

In January 2006 Carbon Leaf was one of the bands to join Sister Hazel's floating Music festival The Rock Boat. They have also performed on The Rock Boat 2007, Ships & Dip hosted by The Barenaked Ladies in 2008, The Rock Boat in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013.

2010–present: Return to indie status

The band announced in a radio interview on WCNR on March 20, 2010 that they were amicably parting with their label, Vanguard Records, with the intent to record and release music on their own schedule by embracing the lack of distribution and use the internet to get their music out. Barry Privett said, "I don't know if the label knows or not but we're leaving the label." He continued by saying, "As of this point we're going to be an independent band again. We're tired of waiting ... two years to make a record and then you know waiting for six months for a setup and then you know having it be fully dependent on a label's schedule."[20] They explained that they may be smaller projects but there will be more of them. They want to use giving away some of their music at shows as a marketing tool to develop larger, long term sales as their fan base grows. They put the proposal to Vangaurd for Nothing Rhymes with Woman, but it was rejected because Vanguard's priority is CD sales.[20] On July 6, 2010 they released How the West was One, the first of their albums since returning to indie status. The album, inspired by and written during their touring the American west, was initially released directly by the band for sale on their website and was subsequently made available from iTunes and Their ninth studio album and third of 2010, a collection of original Christmas and winter themed songs titled Christmas Child, was released on November 16.[22] Barry Privett described the songs as "encompassing both the joy and melancholy of the season."[23]

A second live album and DVD was recorded in January 2010.[24] As of July 2010 the band was going through the footage and mixing of the audio.[25] The 3-disc set was expected to be released in early 2011 and that a new album would follow in the spring of 2011.[23] Live, Acoustic...And In Cinemascope! was released on May 3, 2011.[26]

In February 2013, the band independently released Ghost Dragon Attacks Castle.

On June 18, 2013 Carbon Leaf launched a crowdfunding effort to support their next studio album. The crowdfunding effort was launched on PledgeMusic, and reached 50% of the goal inside of 24 hours with the 100% mark being reached on July 9. The album, Constellation Prize, was released digitally through their website on October 1, 2013 with plans to release a physical CD around the middle of the month.

On August 9, 2014 Carbon Leaf released Indian Summer Revisited, a 10th anniversary re-recording of their 2004 album. As with their previous album, it was supported via a crowdfunding campaign on PledgeMusic.[27] While the band does not own the master recordings from the 2004 album they do own the songs.[27][28]


Studio albums and EPs

Year Album details Peak positions
US US Rock US Heat US Indie US Internet
1995 Meander

  • Released: January 1, 1995
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
1997 Shadows in the Banquet Hall

  • Released: October 1, 1997
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
1999 Ether~Electrified Porch Music

  • Released: November 1, 1999
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
2001 Echo Echo

  • Released: March 31, 2001
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
2004 Indian Summer

53 12
2006 Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat

  • Released: September 12, 2006
  • Label: Vanguard Records
170 3 12 12
2009 Nothing Rhymes with Woman

  • Released: May 19, 2009
  • Label: Vanguard Records
136 41 3
2010 How the West was One

  • Released: July 6, 2010
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
2010 Christmas Child

  • Released: November 16, 2010
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
2013 Ghost Dragon Attacks Castle

  • Released: February 19, 2013
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
2013 Constellation Prize

  • Released: October 1, 2013
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
2014 Indian Summer Revisited

  • Released: August 9, 2014
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Live albums

Year Album details Peak positions
US US Rock US Heat US Indie
2003 5 Alive!

  • Released: August 12, 2003
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
2011 Live, Acoustic...And In Cinemascope!

  • Released: May 3, 2011[26]
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Title Label Peak positions
US AAA US Adult Contemporary US Adult Top 40
2001 I Know The Reason Constant Ivy Music
The Boxer Constant Ivy Music
2004 Life Less Ordinary Vanguard Records 5 29 30
2005 What About Everything Vanguard Records 25
Let Your Troubles Roll By Vanguard Records
2006 Learn To Fly Vanguard Records
2007 Comfort Vanguard Records
2009 Miss Hollywood Vanguard Records 33



  1. ^ Band Members (Jason Neal) - Official Carbon Leaf Website - Retrieved February 25, 2009
  2. ^ "Breaking News... A Season for Change CARBON LEAF IS ACTIVELY SEARCHING FOR A NEW BASS PLAYER!!". Archived from the original on December 12, 1998. Retrieved April 5, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Carbon Leaf Interview -Chicago, 2002". Blue Tint Magazine. Archived from the original on August 14, 2004. 
  4. ^ Carbon Leaf. "Carbon Leaf - The Bio-Shere:". Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  5. ^ Kim Mock (October 22, 2003). "AMA winner Carbon Leaf working on local following". Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  6. ^ (November 14, 2006). "The Evolution of Carbon Leaf". Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  7. ^ ""Wicked Spring" : Media". Archived from the original on March 8, 2005. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  8. ^ Wicked Spring (DVD). LionHeart Filmwords. Event occurs at 1:34:49. ASIN B0000E6FNK. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  9. ^ "LionHeart Filmworks : Films :Features & Documentaries". LionHeart Filmworks. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Wicked Spring Cast and Details". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Pontiac Vibe "Summer Sound Off" Campaign Winner Announced" (Press release). General Motors. September 12, 2002. Archived from the original on July 8, 2003. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  12. ^ Barry Privett (January 2003). "On January 13, 2003, CL gave permission for shows to be hosted at the Archive". Retrieved June 23, 2009. 
  13. ^ Vangaurd Records. "Richmond, VA-Based Carbon Leaf Signs with Vanguard Records". Archived from the original on October 27, 2006. Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  14. ^ Vanguard Records (November 2004). "Pop-Rockers Carbon Leaf Celebrate A "Life Less Ordinary" on The Dr. Phil Show". Archived from the original on October 27, 2006. Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  15. ^ 2006. "Monterey International Booking". Retrieved June 3, 2006
  16. ^ "SudFlood - Virginia Tech April 28, 2007". Retrieved November 17, 2009. 
  17. ^ News - Official Carbon Leaf Website - Retrieved January 16, 2009
  18. ^ Vanguard Records. "Vanguard Records Publicity - Nothing Rhymes With Woman". Retrieved March 20, 2009. 
  19. ^ (June 2009). "Film On The Rocks / The Princess Bride with Carbon Leaf". Retrieved September 25, 2009. 
  20. ^ a b c Corner Lounge: Carbon Leaf 3-20-10 (MP3) (radio). Keswick, Virginia: WCNR. March 20, 2010. Event occurs at 19:24. Retrieved March 23, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey (Soundtrack)". Retrieved March 23, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Christmas Child". Retrieved December 20, 2010. 
  24. ^ Carbon Leaf - In Your Ear Concert Preview Clip on YouTube Retrieved December 20, 2010.
  25. ^ "Carbon Leaf (Barry Privett)". July 31, 2010. Retrieved December 20, 2010. 
  26. ^ a b "Carbon Leaf's New Live Double CD And First Ever DVD Is Now Available!". Carbon Leaf. May 3, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  27. ^ a b Carbon Leaf. "Indian Summer Revisited Album". Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  28. ^ Fulghum, Sherrill (June 22, 2014). "Carbon Leaf Revisits "Indian Summer"". Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  29. ^ "International Songwriting Competition Previous Winners". International Songwriting Competition, Inc. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Ari Gold Wins Top Prize At 2007 USA Songwriting Competition". Indie Music News. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  31. ^ "Ari Gold Wins Top Prize At 2007 USA Songwriting Competition". Music Industry News Network. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 


External links

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