Los Angeles based all-arounder Brenda Carsey can call herself an “all-arounder” for several reasons. Yes, she’s a multi-dimensional talent capable of singing virtually any style, jazz, hip-hop, pop, singer/songwriter folk, and others. She plays multiple instruments without ever disappearing up her own backside with ostentatious displays of virtuosity. Brenda Carsey is always, first and foremost, serving the song.
Her new single “I’m Sorry” likewise demonstrates her emotional command over material. She doesn’t swear to change, denounce her own failings, and promise to do better bellowing at the top of her lungs. It’s a notable departure from her preceding single “Just Trying to Do My Thing” in terms of presentation, but the essential spirit remains the same.
Carsey lives and dies by baring her soul to listeners. There are no half measures. Moreover, she isn’t going to softball emotions in a poetic veneer when immediacy will do better – the words for “I’m Sorry” are a definite reminder of that. They pull no punches. She wraps the song’s sentiments in a velvet glove, however, as her voice is a marvel to hear, its beauty exerting an almost hypnotic effect on listeners from the start.
Pairing it with well-recorded acoustic guitar building to drums and bass is a great move. “I’m Sorry” has a slow, almost glacial, upward tick towards its conclusion, but you will notice and feel its gathering momentum when you’re lost in the song. Its orchestrations are subtle – but real. Carsey and her collaborators opted to leave her voice and the accompanying music as unadorned as possible and it’s another smart move.
Carsey has the rare capacity for presenting her listeners with different aspects of her musical character with each new single. Her recent spate of successful singles hail from her most recent upcoming full-length, Cognizance, but each of these tracks has the clear wherewithal to stand on their own as compelling individual works.
It has enormous potential as a live number. It is a simple band set-up sustaining the song, nothing fancy, and translating it to the stage is a matter of rehearsal, little else. There is also just enough variation within the song to keep listeners interested despite the pared-down backing – electric guitar Michael Day makes important contributions in that regard, but the rhythm section of bassist Nick Campbell and drummer Kyle Crane provides the song’s all-important foundation.
She’s played some of the nation’s marquee venues for modern talent and opened for several well-regarded acts along the way. Those sorts of opportunities will expand with this single – its success is virtually assured. Audiences are responding to Brenda Carsey for good reasons but, overshadowing them all, is the way her talents leap out at you with each new performance. “I’m Sorry” joins those ranks without retracing an inch of ground and repeating herself. It is easy to hear that her creative energies are boiling at the moment. She comes across as fully in control of the moment during “I’m Sorry” though there’s never any feeling that she isn’t allowing the song to work for her. It’s as natural as breathing.
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