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As the frontman of Carbon Leaf, Barry Privett has successfully toured and recorded with the same band since 1992, crossing paths with huge names in the music business (Dave Matthews, Blues Traveler, Avett Brothers, and many more). Over the course of their continuous 27 year career, he has learned many things about music itself, the music business, record labels, touring, and strategies for keeping the peace among band members. Joe McMurray and Aaron Sefchick enjoy the opportunity to dive deep into the world of one of the music business’s hardest working bands!
In Part 1 of 2, Barry tells the guys about the beginnings of Carbon Leaf, their early influences, and their workman’s approach to the business. He then tells us about their unique method of songwriting in which band members submit song ideas to him and he writes lyrics and melodies to those ideas. The band has been incredibly professional in their ability to work together, use facilitative language to provide constructive criticism, and come up with seemingly endless song ideas.
Joe and Aaron ask Barry for his back story and learn of his early musical influences and training, including piano, trumpet, guitar, and choir experience. He tells them about Carbon Leaf’s first gigs playing at college bars near Richmond, Virginia.
Next, the guys talk about touring. Barry tells them about the vocal strain of performing every night, but how in-ear monitors have helped to reduce that strain. Carbon Leaf runs their band like a business, cutting out unnecessary costs. They drive their own tour bus, they each have ancillary duties (social media, recording, etc.), and play a lot of shows. Barry explains their process for booking tours.
Finally Barry talks about how the changing music market has influenced their recent strategy of foregoing record labels, building their own recording studio, and nurturing their fan base.
Fun facts: Carbon Leaf featured Katy Perry in their 2006 music video, “Learn to Fly.” They recorded music for 2009 film Curious George 2. In 2002 their music was featured on national commercials for the Pontiac Vibe. They have played with/crossed paths with major other major acts including Dave Matthews, O.A.R., The Avett Brothers, Sister Hazel, Big Head Todd, Blues Traveler, Jason Mraz, and many others.