Review – Kendel Carson – Rearview Mirror Tears

Kendel Carson knows a thing or two about music. At the tender age of three she began playing violin and soon after climbed in the Canadian classical music world appearing as a featured guest soloist with the Victoria Symphony and later joining the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. She performed across her native Canada and around the globe since she joined her first musical group at nine years old.

Carson’s muse led her to the Juno-winning roots music band The Paperboys and she appeared on their most recent album, The Road to Ellenside.

Now at the age of 22 you could say she’s been around.

After making the acquaintance of music veteran Chip Taylor – best known for his country-folk work, being the brother of John Vought (and Angelina’s uncle) and for penning one of the most enduring songs from the 60’s “Wild Thing” – at a 2004 South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas Taylor began offering Carson long-distance encouragement and guidance similar to the guidance he gave to another singer/violinist from Austin by the name of Carrie Rodriguez.

As with Taylor’s collaboration with Rodriguez he has written songs that encourage Carson to bring out both the playful and the smoldering side, and Carson’s charming new release on Taylor’s Train Wreck Records label “Rearview Mirror Tears” serves up plenty of both and more.

The album kicks off with a runner in the excellent “Run to the Middle of the Mornin'” which showcases Caron’s and Taylor’s’ off-kilter harmony with Southern sass and fine fiddle work.

“Take Me Down to the River” has a swampy vibe that makes it sexy and just a little spooky.

Ribbons & Bows and Gold in the Hills (Of Saltery Bay) are great guy/girl songs about the trials and triumphs of love.

“In the Middle of a Think About You” sounds like a Bonnie Raitt country-blues stomp that cruises along nicely with guitar
work by John Platania. “Especially for a Girl” is a sassy strut about desire bubbling-over featuring great slide guitar work.

The album’s rowdier tracks, “I Like Trucks” and “I Certainly Know Why” both sound as if they were recorded in
a bar full of drunk, loud women and it seems to set the right environment for the songs.

Carson isn’t belter, she a setter of mood, but her voice excudes a confidence that is beyond her years coupled with her
nuance and fine fiddle work drives this release all the way to the bank.

Kendel Carson – I Like Trucks