On February 15, Carsie Blanton will release Buck Up, the follow-up to her 2016 LP So Ferocious. On Buck Up, the New Orleans-based artist explores grief, adulthood and political disillusionment through a thoughtful mix of roots rock, mid-century soul, socially conscious folk and catchy pop melodies.
Below, read a short essay Blanton penned about the creation of Buck Up. Stream the LP at the bottom of this post.
I spent most of the past two years inside a tornado of grief and desire. The inspiration for this record struck around November of 2016, when America broke my heart, and then some scoundrel re-broke it, one right after the other like dominoes falling. I was lying around heartbroken, eating Pringles and watching reality TV, when suddenly I had to laugh. Desire is ridiculous, and so is hope. And we need them both, desperately. I laughed so hard I wrote a whole album.
My last album, So Ferocious, was about defiance, and bravery, and pleasure. This one is about desire, disillusionment, and the inherent humor of hopelessness. The two go together, because the world is made up of all these things — god help us — in a maddening and arbitrary mishmash. It’s hell. And I hope this album — to paraphrase Tom Waits — will help to improve the quality of our suffering.
The process of making the album was also darker than the last, although in a beautiful way. There were five of us down there, in a basement studio in New Jersey, a little more grown-up and beat down than we had been the last time. Somehow in the two years since making So Ferocious my sweet little band-family had collected two marriages and a divorce and a kid and a couple of aging parents and a sudden and serious health crisis (not to mention a fascist President, a hard lean to the far left, and a new and sobering understanding of what it means to be an American).
Every day for two weeks, we got together in the morning over coffee and talked things out, then sat down and played. And a few times we cried — there was a particularly memorable group cry while playing a synthesizer drone over the song “American Kid” — but most of the time we laughed. And then we went back to our temporary family home and cooked a whole chicken and drank a nice Scotch. Somewhere in the interim between records we found that we had grown up, which was painful and confusing, but also lovely. And all of that made it into the sound of record. – Carsie Blanton
Listen to Buck Up in its entirety below.