Brenda Carsey Releases New Single

It is almost punky to me that Brenda Carsey went into the studio and cut this song “I’m Sorry” as close to the bone as possible. How could she have done otherwise? Michael Day plays very understated electric guitar, drummer Kyle Crane and bassist Nick Campbell lay down a groove, and Carsey supplies acoustic rhythm guitar. That’s it. She produces it, as well, for added measure. In 2022, that’s practically revolutionary.

She’s not even an Americana artist – at least, not just that. She’s a singer without a thousand voices, but they all emanate from the same place. Carsey sings from personal experience, all singers do to a greater or lesser extent, but she also has the five-star instincts of a world-class performer. You hear it in her phrasing – how she accentuates certain syllables and passages for effect rather than plowing through the song’s lyrics with unimaginative one-note idiocy.

It’s a song that lends itself, in all honesty, to a heavy-handed approach. There’s usually nothing especially refined or delicate about naked expressions of human grief, the core of Carsey’s “I’m Sorry”, but she has upturned the apple cart of expectations we bring to the song. I was on the singer’s “side” and, enlisted in her “cause”, early on and it’s once again due to her singing skills. It is a rare ability that she wisely doesn’t overplay. It also works in perfect accord with the song’s instrumentation.

I am taken with the production job she does as well. It is clean, unfettered, and captures the song’s progression with a surprising amount of gravitas. We get the feeling, practically immediately, that the song is serious business rather than mere entertainment. She understands how to frame her voice for maximum effect, however, and the undoubtedly sweetening qualities of her vocals are used here with results listeners will not soon forget.

Carsey’s acoustic guitar playing gives the song a definite shape without standing out too far in the mix. She attacks the instrument in a very physical way and her production reflects that. It’s a classic configuration she’s pursuing here, close to as basic as it gets, and the reasoning behind such a direction is obvious. There is no need to dress the song’s message up with meaningless musical tinsel or pretty lights that dazzle but ultimately mean nothing. Instead, Carsey bets on a lean and mean approach.

It pays off and will continue doing so for some time to come. This is another single, like its predecessors, that has clear “legs” capable of carrying Carsey to a higher public and artistic profile than ever before. The accolades and streams will be coming hot and heavy with this one and it is a well-deserved triumph for the Los Angeles based singer/songwriter. Brenda Carsey isn’t a fly by night talent, in my estimation, but a real and developing artist who is hitting an early stride with this and other recent songs. Let us keep following her because things are certain to continue improving from here. 

Michael Rand

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