Second Stage: Abbott Carter : All Songs Considered by Meg Ruddick Download "Burden Onto You" by Abbott Carter (Right-click or control-click to save to your computer) All I can tell you about folksinger-guitarist Abbott Carter is that he's based out of Austin, Texas. What he looks like and his ...
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Second Stage: Abbott Carter

Download "Burden Onto You" by Abbott Carter (Right-click or control-click to save to your computer)

All I can tell you about folksinger-guitarist Abbott Carter is that he's based out of Austin, Texas. What he looks like and his age are both mysteries to me, but I think that only adds to his music. His anonymity allows me to romanticize my image of him: I see him sitting on a porch somewhere picking out his beautiful folk tunes and singing to the trees.

When I first listened to his self-titled album, I thought his music was just simple folk that maybe deserved a second listen. On that second listen, though, I found details in his guitar playing and lyrics that really made me stop and pay attention. Some songs feature touches of electric guitar, plodding percussion (usually a stomping foot) and Grateful Dead-like harmonies. But they mostly focus on Carter's fine acoustic fingerpicking and weathered voice. I hear the gnarled lyricism of Bob Dylan as well as the low rumblings of Leonard Cohen. Most songs have a tinny, vintage sound, but the music doesn't sound dated. After a few listens, the songs have stayed with me and haven't lost their novelty. It was hard for me to pick just one to share -- I really love them all. But luckily, the one Web site of his that I found streams what appears to be his entire catalog of songs, including the beautiful "I'd Only Ask It." But one of my favorites from the album is the bittersweet "Burden Onto You."

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