Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel’s debut album sings like a manifesto. Truth. Urgency. Sorrow. Success. The nine songs crescendo like that of a short story and are best listened to all through. Such tight engaging passionate music reveal those thoughts which we didn’t realize existed there just under the surface – bubbling.
“Red Islands” starts things off – with an angry, frustrated exposition. In “Master Builder” torture of the soul is revealed, layered with further frustration with the line, “Got so much to say and no one to say it to.”
In “Kick Drums” the last 30 seconds is one of my favourite tidbits of the album.
“California” takes you to a soulful place of one experiencing disbelief. It hits with a blunt force. The challenge is to listen without letting the warm rain fall on your own face. Perhaps it’s best to just let it happen. The soft piano and lilting female vocals create a mystical quality as you feel yourself being carried away by those wings. Just listen, you’ll know what I mean.
In the final song, “Nobody’s Prisoner”, the angst and confusion of earlier songs melts away into an epiphany of freedom. Dust off the dance shoes and sharpen those pencils. After hearing this song you’ll want to jump into your “to do” list of life with gusto. Building on the previous song, “Ghosts”, that instructed you to “come alive”, this tune dares you to try all those things that may have earned you scoffs from others. Truth oozes out in this song. Along with the fun these guys are having creating this album. “When they tell me I can’t dance, I’m gonna dance anyway. When they tell me I can’t sing, gonna sing karaoke at the Black Diamond.” Just do it, essentially.
The musicianship keeps the record pumping from song to song. The raw lyrics are ripped apart by the steady rhythm and guitar blasts. Produced by Stone and Michael Shepherd of Lakewind Studios, the CD is a must for your collection. Good luck getting it out of your stereo. Enjoy the ride and let it take you where it wants to go.