I chose to put this on, and simply listen to it, with no pre-conceived notions (you’d
think that would always happen), and I found myself very pleasantly surprised…this is a
blow-by-blow account of my impressions on Pebaluna’s new album Carny Life.

1. All Falling Down – VERY nice mix of influences, that didn’t sound randomly
thrown together…very strong vocal… Love the strings! Starts off like Gypsy Jazz
(almost a ‘God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen’-like vibe), into a cabaret-like vibe…
Very poetic, hopeful lyrics about life’s struggles.

2. No, I Can’t – Fingersnaps start it out, with the ukulele and drums with
brushes creepin’ in, like a dirty breakbeat…nice use of ukulele…Very folksy-
soulful…builds nicely with the guitar and bass coming in…great ‘film
soundtrack’ material…..Self-Deprecating lyrics, coming off as irony, with the
skills readily apparent…Loved the ‘scratching’ effect near the end…very well
arranged.

3. Sister Sara – Starts like a ‘Spaghetti Western’, then the beat drops! A cautionary
tale that I find very Joni Mitchell-ish (as I type this, Lauren does a very Joni-
like high vocal).

4. Carney Life – This definitely evokes the image that the title implies… very
folksy, almost country (the ukulele reminds me of a lap guitar)… nice whistling
and vocal harmonies.

5. Baby, What’s Wrong -Nice vocal harmonies, simple guitar accompaniment. Not
a bad song, but, I don’t care for it, compared to the first 5.

6. Siren Song – OKAY! Back to business—these guys put together nice, mellow
grooves… I don’t dance, but, this would be nice to do a pseudo-Tango with my
lady…. Lovely song! (I’m really impressed with the lead female singer’s vocals –
nice range and intonation.)

7. Honey – Great energy…kind of a country rock thing (to me), with jazzy sounding
chords…the violin is a nice touch…. Great guitar…. Very nice story telling.

8. Hopeless – Very nice bass, kind of an R&B thing (the drums evoke Motown, and
the horns bring back strains of Stax Records)…remind me of ‘Harlem Shuffle’,
that kind of R&B.

9. Please Me – Oh, this is dope… I like that the 60’s R&B/Soul/Funk style is back
in vogue, thanks to your Amy Winehouses and Sharon Joneses…. This has to be
quite a burner in their Live Set.

10. Sunshine Lullaby – Maybe, I’m not the biggest ukulele fan (I think of wack ass
Tiny Tim), but, I appreciate the vibe! It quite literally is a Sunshine Lullaby.

This is a great album, very well produced, clean recordings…The lyrics are poetic, and rise above cliché. I’m very impressed with Lauren Coleman’s voice. The arrangements of the songs are smart and well conceived, with excellent musicianship, tempered with taste.

Carny Life can be purchased straight through the band HERE.

If you want to see what this great band sounds like live, and they are amazing, make sure to check out their CD release show this Friday, September 14th @ Di Piazza’s with a host of other great bands!

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About the Author

Dave Williams

Dave Williams is a veteran Long Beach, Ca. Jazz Trumpeter, Composer, Poet and Musical Director of the NuJazz/Funk/HipHop collective MajicBulletTheory. In his former life, Williams was a MC and Hip Hop Producer.



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