Hear It First: Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer – ‘Little Blue Egg’
** Audio for this Hear It First feature is no longer available.**
Have you ever watched that television show about antiques? Antiques Roadshow? Well, if you have, you’re familiar with the look on people’s faces when they present what they just know are priceless treasures to the antiquities experts. You know what I’m talking about: that slightly smug “I’m special because I’ve got something amazing and it just happened to be carelessly lingering in my dusty old attic under a moth eaten dog blanket and a box of grandma’s report cards” expression.
So, if you know that look, you also know the look that crosses their faces when the expert tells them they’ve got a cute little piece of history, valuable only to them and worth, monetarily, nothing at all. You’ve got to feel a little sorry for those folks.
Well, there’s no feeling sorry for Tracy Grammer. She really did make a priceless discovery, a once-in-a-lifetime find. And the great thing about her discovery? We all get to enjoy it.
She was digging around in a basement, trying to rescue some old boxes in danger of moldering away. Imagine how she felt when she realized she was holding onto a box of recordings she’d made with her musical partner, the late Dave Carter. Shock, joy, happiness, despair – all rolled into that one amazing day of discovery, 8 years after Dave Carter died, one week before his 50th birthday.
They’d made the recordings over a 5 year span, 1997 to 2002, and while some of the songs were professionally recorded and mixed in the studio, others were recorded in a more intimate living/family room setting. Grammer, after digitizing the tapes, pulled together Little Blue Egg, a recording of 11 songs, some we’ve never heard before.
Besides the new recording, we’ve got five additional songs to look forward to. They’ll be released throughout 2012 – part of a year-long celebration to mark the 10th anniversary of Carter’s death and what would have been his 60th birthday.
Little Blue Egg has, once again, explained why Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer were – and still are – a truly magical musical duo. Besides the thought provoking lyrics and the balance of guitar, banjo and violin, these are two musicians who take turns in the spotlight, never trying to outshine one another. It’s the lyrics and the music that count in these songs – and Carter and Grammer make sure you know it.
What makes this recording especially enjoyable – it’s just so clear that these are two musicians who made it a point to listen to each other. The careful way they interact shines through the entire album, but is especially obvious on the opening track, “Better Way,” a heart-breaking love song. And the delicate balance of shifting vocals and instrumentation is perhaps most poignant on “Gypsy Rose,” the story of lovers who refuse to be parted, even after death.
Don’t be surprised if you feel tears pricking in your eyes while you listen to the album. And don’t be surprised if you laugh out loud, too (or at least smile a little bit). Little Blue Egg continues the very fine tradition of Carter and Grammer – two musicians who were lucky enough to find each other more than a decade ago and two musicians whose body of work continues to delight and inspire those of us fortunate enough to hear it.
~ Elena See
**To download a free MP3 of “Hard Edge of Livin'” and order this CD, visit Red House Records.**