Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa Carlton

Tristen

Mon, March 6, 2017

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

The Sinclair

Cambridge, MA

$25 advance / $30 day of show

This event is 18 and over

The Sinclair is general admission standing room only. Tickets available at AXS.COM, or by pho ne at 888-929-7849. No service charge on tickets purchased in person at The Sinclair Box office Wednesdays-Saturdays 12-7PM. Please note: box office is cash only.

Vanessa Carlton
Vanessa Carlton
On Thursday December 17, 2015, Vanessa Carlton took the stage in front of a packed audience at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville, TN for the final date of the year's "Liberman" Tour.

She'll candidly admit that countless thoughts swirled around in her head—"I was feeling pretty emotional about how far I've come." Here, the singer and songwriter was back in her new home of Nashville, TN surrounded by family and fans, 15 years into an illustrious career, and supporting her most acclaimed work to date, Liberman. Just two months earlier, the album arrived to unanimous critical praise from Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Boston Globe, Nylon, Paste, Esquire, and many more in addition to Pitchfork who claimed, "A million years ago, Vanessa Carlton released 'A Thousand Miles,' the pop song that launched a generation of piano lessons. Now, she's releasing the raw, muted, refreshingly weird Liberman, a record that could share headspaces with Perfume Genius or Angel Olsen."

The night marked a first for the artist as she recorded the show for 2016's Liberman Live [Dine Alone Records]. Now, the nine-song collection captures the evening's magic augmented by surprise performances from her husband Deer Tick frontman John McCauley, The Watson Twins, violinist Skye Steele and album producer Adam Landry. Moments such as "Operator," which featured all of the guests on stage, and an emotional rendition of "River" speak to Carlton's inimitable presence, passion, and power in person.

"The whole message of the album is expressing a lot of philosophies about my life, peace, pain, and happiness over the past ten years," she says. "I wanted this record to not only be very personal to me, but an expression of these ideas. A performance is not just about the performer at all; it's about the connection between the audience and the artist. You're at your most vulnerable on stage, and you're singing songs that are an expression of yourself. That's when a performance works. That's when an album works. Liberman was special because it does that. I feel like the show does too."

A victory lap and celebration, that evening begins and ends with the record. You could say an unusual light shines through Liberman, Vanessa Carlton's fifth album. Its ten songs, built on ethereal melodies and lush orchestration, seem to climb out of the shadows, each resonating with a sense of haunting positivity. The opening track, "Take It Easy," instantly sets the tone, inviting the listener into a sort of sonic euphoria: each note and lyric thereafter builds on that aesthetic, creating an ongoing narrative that unfurls over its classic side A and side B.

"It's a calm record," Carlton says. "I didn't want any angst in there. I thought, 'What would I want to hear back? What would make me feel better in my darker times?' Even a phrase like 'take it easy,' which is in a million songs, brings happiness. This album leans toward seeing the good in humans and in the world."

Carlton began writing in the summer of 2012, beginning with "Unlock The Lock," an evocative piano-driven track that set the tone for the songs to come. She'd recently finished touring 2011's Rabbits On The Run, an album conceived through inspiration from Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time and Richard Adam's Watership Down. Carlton found herself in the desert and the song emerged, reflecting a newly revealing songwriting sensibility for the artist. "I imagined a group of people listening to it," she says. "It was the first time I ever wanted to make something like séance music – something that would make a human brain feel at ease, something that would feel right in an everyday ritual. I also realized I wanted the record to be really soothing lyrically and not so much a reveal of me."

The musician followed that thread as she continued writing for the next year and a half, this time inspired by books like Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth and Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception. Carlton's primary influence, however, was a colorful oil painting by her grandfather Alan J. Lee, who was originally named Liberman. The painting, created in 1963, hangs in Carlton's home and showcases three woman captured in swirling pastel colors. She wrote many songs while looking at the image, eventually deciding to call the album after her grandfather.

"The swirly colors of that painting reminded me of the music and the music reminds me of those colors" Carlton notes. "Then I looked up what Liberman means and it's 'honorable man' and 'my beloved' – all these things that just felt right to me. It's a strong family name that, in a weird way, describes the music to me."

At the end of 2013, Carlton gathered her songs and decamped to Real World Studio in Box, England to work with producer Steve Osborne, who'd helmed Rabbits On The Run. In the studio, Carlton and Osborne focused on the sound, on creating layers of instrumentation with classic gear that veer away from crisp pop production and reference artists like Air. For Carlton, who began her career with several albums at the mercy of prescribed aesthetics, emphasizing the art of space and sonic beauty felt like the next step. This shift is revealed particularly in the trippy ambience of "House of Seven Swords" and the moody "Ascension," which builds a soundscape outward from the piano at its center.

Carlton rounded out the album in Nashville with Landry who worked on three tracks. McCauley played on several songs throughout the process, including "Take it Easy," "Ascension" and "Matter of Time." The latter is stripped of instrumentation and highlights Carlton's voice as it soars over McCauley's delicately plucked electric guitar, reminiscent of the old school vocal recordings of Dusty Springfield.

Ultimately, Liberman feels like a new chapter in Carlton's storied career, revealing new facets of her musical skill and instigating fresh inspirations. Stagnancy, she knows, is the antithesis to creativity.

"Martin Scorsese said sometimes your greatest challenge is not your failure but your success," Carlton says. "In a way I was able to persevere after having a success out of the gate and figure out a path that feels really pure to me. But I had to create this environment where I felt comfortable changing. When I was first doing records I was so young and I wanted to please everyone. But now I sort of feel ancient and I love it and I just want to make art for its own sake. Whether I fall on my face or not at least I know I did it. Everything I've done and everything I am is there in the songs."
Tristen
Tristen
When Nashville by-way-of Chicago, songstress TRISTEN’s debut, Charlatans At The Garden Gate, was released in 2011, SPIN wrote the following: DzTristen is one of the most talented new songwriters in a city full of talented new songwriters. Her addictive debut album is making a splash with its impassioned lyrics and hooky guitar pop that blends country, rockabilly, rock’n'roll, girl group sounds, and introspective balladry — the result of Tristen’s passion for pop music.dzWell, that passion for pop music has evolved even further.TRISTEN’s second LP is called CAVES. Whilst touring almost non-stop since 2010 and sometimes opening for Justin Townes Earle, Ezra Furman, The Elected and Minus the Bear, TRISTEN started writing songs that would become her new record. The songwriter unveiled CAVES first single, DzNo One's Gonna Knowdz at her Bonnaroo Festival debut, where she was named by Spinand American Songwriter as their pick for DzArtist To Watchdz."I was using my Lowry organ and an Alesis HR-16 to work up new songs and on a whim,dz she says. DzBuddy (Hughen, guitar player extraordinaire), and I quickly incorporated the drum machine into performing as a duo for a tour we were planning with Ezra and a new horizon quickly emerged. I kept saying that I wanted to make a dance record." In August of 2011, she started working in Nashville, TN with a gathering of ace Nashville musicians and engineers. TRISTEN spent that winter working on the tracks and writing string arrangements in her home studio in east Nashville. "It became that I was aiming to make a hybrid pop record, half machine and half human. I wanted to mix synthesizers and a string quartet, real drummers with my drum machine." In January she hooked up with Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit, M. Ward) at his studio in Omaha, NE to record strings. Final touches, re-visits, and re-workings were then recorded at Nashville's legendary studio Sound Emporium and Sunset Sound in Los Angeles. CAVES was then sent to the UK to be mixed by an innovator of synth pop music, Stephen Hague (Pet Shop Boys, OMD, Peter Gabriel). Born Tristen Gaspadarek, she grew up on the south side of Chicago in the suburb of Lansing, Illinois, where her musician father instilled in her a love of music. The grandchild of first and second generation immigrants, she was singing from the time she could speak, took up the piano at 8 year old. Inspired by her local Oldies 104.3 and The Beatles, she began writing her own songs. When she was 18 she moved to Chicago, where she studied communication theory at DePaul University until the
combination of a broken marriage engagement and her discovery of David Bowie inspired her to move to Nashville to become an artist. Tristen quickly gained attention in Nashville with local press touting her as "a new breed of female songwriter". In January of 2011 she released her first record Charlatans at the Garden Gate, which won top honors as the Nashville Scene’s #1 Local Release of 2011, and was labeled one of American Songwriters Top 50 Albums of the year. The young musician saw her album met with wide ranging critical praise from a broad range of sources including NPR, Rolling Stone, Paste, KCRW, World Café, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune. With her warm, guileless vocals and earnest, evocative songwriting, TRISTEN has emerged as a true individual, bridging genres and emotions to create a distinctive sound all her own with finely honed modern pop, rich with exquisite arrangements and a remarkably intuitive lyrical approach.
Venue Information:
The Sinclair
52 Church St
Cambridge, MA, 02138