From: TN, United States
Genre: Pop, Singer / Songwriter, Acoustic Rock
What are we to make of Carey Ott and his music? Is he the new Jackson Browne, are his sleek and seductive melodies what could be called quiet storm? His voice is human silk and his arrangments and lyrics carry a lot of muscle while adding up to the seduction album of the year. Ott has evolved his craft from Torben Floor, a band more in common with the punk sounds of The Ramones or The Undertones, through country and now to this hybrid of all that he has been through. I’m reminded of the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson’s great line: “I am a part of all that I have met.” Carey Ott is like that, his lyrics have a universal poignance, we’ve all been there, just most of us dissolve into frustration rather than turning that emotion into a three-minute beauty of a pop tune.
Now it’s hard not to use the word sensitive when you’re describing Carey Ott’s music, there’s always that derisory sensitive singer/songwriter connotation. So while there are many simpering acts that we can write off, let’s not forget those that put real courage and devastating honesty in their lyrics: John Lennon, Paul Simon and Lou Reed come to mind. Not wimpy stuff, not in the least, it’s bare and raw. And while Ott’s melodies are the stuff of angels’ daydreams, his lyrics are the stuff of a soul bared. There’s alienation, loneliness and pain -and it ain’t there for trendies or the emo crowd. It’s there for real people who like to turn on some music that makes them feel there’s someone else out there who feels the way they do, that there’s someone to rely on (which happens to be the title of cut 8), that they’re not alone.
Writing such material is not an easy task, but Ott makes it seem that each song just flowed out of him without a thought. He is a consummate melody writer. And cuts on this album recall some greats: the title cut, reflects Jackson Browne’s phrasing, Je Suis Borderline has a Todd Rundgren feel, Magnificent Mile is very reminiscent of the Beatles’ White Album material, Say You Do has that high lonely Roy Orbison tone. And, of course, there is Ain’t No Upside (To Livin’ On the Downside), the anthem of optimism for 2010 that Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy was for 1989. Carey Ott has emerged as a true Renaissance man, composer, multi-instrumentalist, engineer, producer, teacher, painter and poet. His music is without boundaries. Creating with uninhibited abandon, he draws inspiration from the traditions of his heroes. From Randy Newman to Radiohead, Led Zeppelin to Leadbelly; Carey's influences weave into and out of his work more emotionally than musically, resulting in what he calls, "a reverent tapestry of musical gratitude."
To say that Human Heart will be a tour de force is not a shred of overstatement. Carey Ott is a career artist in the making. Get hip to him now while he’s red hot.
By Les Wiseman:
Mr.Wiseman is often called "the Lester Bangs of Canada." He writes for numerous magazines including Absolute Underground and Douglas and is a lecturer on pop culture and journalism at the University of Victoria. He has covered the music scene for 33 years.