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Rearview Mirror Tears

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 3, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Kendel Carson - she's a name, voice and fiddler/violinist who will indeed be remembered from a first listen to Rearview Mirror Tears, her delightful and alluring debut album on Train Wreck Records, produced by Chip Taylor. Already a musical veteran at age 22, she's been capturing ears and wowing audiences across her native Canada and around the globe with her prodigious talent and luminescent aura since she joined her first musical group at nine years old.

So it's no surprise that Rearview Mirror Tears sounds like the assured work of a veteran artist, rich with an uncanny and winning familiarity, seducing listeners to spin it again and again. After all, it's the work of a true artistic natural whose soul is suffused with music, and then on Rearview Mirror Tears is paired with another equally musical soul, master songwriter Chip Taylor, composer of such indelible classics as "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning" and éminence grise of Americana music and the contemporary folk-rock and singer-songwriter scenes.

It's a collaboration that at first glance may seem like a seasoned veteran mentoring a gifted protégé, but the album soon reveals something else at work that's even more vibrant and exciting. The way Carson inhabits the album's songs with a full, rich presence and stamps her identity into the music with her vocals and playing tells a different tale: An artistic union of two friends and kindred musical souls. There's a spirit and life that pervades Rearview Mirror Tears that can only come between two talents in prime form enjoying their creativity in full flow.

Carson was all but destined to make memorable music from birth. Growing up in Victoria, British Columbia, she began playing violin at the tender age of three. Carson ascended to the upper reaches of the Canadian classical music world while still young, appearing as a featured guest soloist with the Victoria Symphony and later joining the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

At the same time as she was achieving mastery as a violinist, Carson also became immersed in the vibrant Canadian folk scene as a fiddler, first with the BC Fiddle Orchestra and then with her brother Tyler as The Carsons, later to become the group Kid Carson. Her collaborative nature also later landed her in the Juno-winning roots music band The Paperboys, with whom she quickly became a notable member on their most recent album, The Road to Ellenside. Her duet with lead singer Tom Landa, "Fall Down With You," was the first video single from the disc and hit #4 on Canada's MuchMoreMusic video channel.

After first meeting her in 2004, Taylor began offering Carson long-distance encouragement and guidance in the months that followed. With Taylor in his most prolific and inspired state within an already prolific and inspired career, their creative alliance bloomed. By the time they hit the studio for a couple of days of recording in 2006, magic wasn't just in the air but in fact captured on the tracks they quickly laid down. On Rearview Mirror Tears, they create an album of music that feels like it was not just meant to be, but ready to emerge and capture the ears of the world at large. With an organic ambience of natural artistry in unfettered flow, the sessions became an album by an artist in first full flowering. Ranging with ease and engaging charm through a variety of roots music modes and emotional and musical moods, Rearview Mirror Tears is one of those exceptional creations that feels memorable and meaningful from its very first notes.

So even though Taylor wears such hats on Rearview Mirror Tears as producer, songwriter, singer and record label, his true role was ultimately encouraging Carson, a fellow talent and peer (despite any age difference), to become who she is and all that she is able to become. And as Taylor sees it, it's ultimately Carson's artistic capacities rather than his own that makes Rearview Mirror Tears all that it is. For Carson, her delectably winning debut album is one of those pivotal artistic and life lessons whose rewards will inform everything to come along her already lengthy and fulfilling musical journey that is sure to continue for some time to come.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Run to the Middle of the Mornin'
  2. I Like Trucks
  3. Take Me Down to the River
  4. Ribbons & Bows
  5. I Certainly Know Why
  6. Gold in the Hills (of Saltery Bay)
  7. In the Middle of a Think About You
  8. Especially For A Girl
  9. I'm a Child All Over Again
  10. Ain't That a Sun
  11. Just What Happened to the Moon
  12. There's No Angel on My Shoulder
  13. Who Wants To Ride This Train

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 3, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: April 3, 2007
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,273 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By J. T. Vanderslice Jr. on June 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Terrific debut album. Kendel has a nice soulful voice, and the instrumentals on this album don't drown it out. She does some up-tempo stuff as well as some excellent ballads. My favorite cut is Ribbons and Bows. I heard it on XM radio and had to hear more.
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Format: Audio CD
I heard Kendel in Utrecht last April. Her band mates were an upright bass player and an acoustic guitar player. Most song they played were from her debut album, but she also added some Celtic tunes to show her virtuosity with the fiddle.
I liked the performance, but, maybe because of the acoustic setting and the inclusion of some reels and jigs, when I bought her CD, I was expecting something close to the Duhks. Instead, it turned out to be more muscular: a country-rock album with plenty of electric guitar riffs (courtesy of John Platania), harmonica embellishments (Chip Taylor) and fiddle virtuosity (Kendel Carson, but this one was of course expected).

The CD is actually a double CD, with two songs (There's No Angel on My Shoulder and Who Wants To Ride This Train) put in a separate bonus disc. Since the main disc is only 38-mins long, they could have packaged all the songs in a single disc, but according to the liner notes, these last 2 songs didn't fit in well with the others and so were kept separate. Well, maybe they are right: Angel on My Shoulder (written about 40 years ago) is a folk-pop song about heartbreak, while Ride This Train is an up-tempo pure-rock number. The 11 tracks on the other disc fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

Chip Taylor wrote or co-wrote all the 13 songs in the 2-disc package. They are all good and make for a strong album with no weak numbers. Still, a sure crowd pleaser is "I like trucks", which has silly lyrics like "I like trucks, big trucks, I like cars that go fast, I like boys that talk trash and take it as it comes" and is ideal to sing-along in a tavern full of drunken people (by the way, this is the way the song seems to have been recorded; and I mean it as a compliment).
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Kendal is no Carrie Rodriguez, but her album is amazing. With some help from Chip Taylor (Jesus, this guy is prolific lately) she's come up with three of the best songs I've heard this year. Something about this utterly trancends her limited singing. It's great! The style is rock/americana, if you care. I think that "ribbons and bows" is my favorite.
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I had the pleasure of seeing Kendall perform in concert with Tom Landa and the Paperboys a few times in Seattle when this CD was first released. Not only is Kendall truly a talented singer, she's a terrific fiddle player and an excellent performer live. We saw her at the Tractor Tavern not long after she turned 21. I expect to see great things from her.
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