Barton Carroll: Love and War

As 2007 begins – happy new year, by the way – I’m frantically digging into the depths of my e-mail inbox (deleting all along the way) to see what I missed in 2006. One name I swore I’d come back to was Barton Carroll, if only for his connection as a former member of Crooked Fingers, the band of Eric Bachmann, whose fabulous solo LP, To the Races, I stupidly forgot among my list of favorites for 2006. (Yeah, pretty sure that qualifies as a run-on sentence.)As the title of Carroll’s record might suggest, Love & War (available on eMusic) considers the human element and emotions of war. Admittedly, you won’t see me staging anti-war protests or being terribly vocal about it, but we’re seeing a byproduct (unfortunately so) of these world events. Off the top of my head, I can think of Josh Ritter’s The Animal Years, Michel Franti’s Yell Fire, The Coup’s Pick a Bigger Weapon and Neil Young’s Living With War as thoughtful and meaningful ways of protest, and music’s ability to teach another audience to take a stance.

Where Carroll’s album fits, I’m not quite sure. But listen to Small Thing, a story about a young woman living in Berlin during Soviet occupation in 1945; it’s based on a book co-written by his mother. It’s hard not to feel engaged by a line like this:

“War sleeps deep in a man /
long after guns are gone /
he loses care for small things /
and I, I was a small thing.”

  • Barton Carroll | Small Thing
  • Barton Carroll | Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still

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