Caroline Peyton | Homeseeker's Paradise

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Rock: Americana Folk: Folk Pop Moods: Type: Vocal
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Homeseeker's Paradise

by Caroline Peyton

Recorded at Nashville's famed Beech House Recording: Studio-crafted singer-songwriter folk rock from one of pop music's most distinctive vocalists--original songs about travel and post-countercultural regret.
Genre: Rock: Americana
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  Song Share Time Download
1. She's Coming Home
4:05 $0.99
2. Idella
3:11 $0.99
3. Walk On Back
3:50 $0.99
4. Needmore
3:52 $0.99
5. A Homeseeker's Paradise
4:02 $0.99
6. Rollin' Chair
3:07 $0.99
7. The Mist Trail
3:33 $0.99
8. Happy Home
3:34 $0.99
9. Shoo-Fly Pie
2:53 $0.99
10. The Shining Shore
4:10 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Caroline Peyton recorded two albums in Bloomington in the '70s for the label she started with Bloomington native Mark Bingham, who had come back to Indiana in the late '60s after a stint with Elektra Records in California. The Bar-B-Q Records releases Mock Up and Intuition have become legendary among the cognoscenti, and their combination of California-style folk-rock and Midwestern jazz-influenced energy anticipated the freak-folk movement by decades. On both records, Peyton--a trained vocalist who was born in Brookhaven, Miss. and grew up in Charleston, W. Va.--interpreted Bingham's post-Joni Mitchell art-pop songs in virtuosic fashion. Although Chicago label Numero Group added some of Peyton's self-penned demos to their 2009 Asterisk reissue of 1977's Intuition (and added some Peyton-sung tracks from the Bingham-led Bloomington band Screaming Gypsy Bandits to their reissue of 1972's Mock Up) Caroline Peyton had never made a true solo record in her entire career. The closest she had come was the 1998 Celtic Christmas Spirit, an immaculately sung collection of Celtic material.

This changes with Homeseeker's Paradise, a collection of nine Peyton tunes and one 19th-century American hymn. Cut from late 2011 through early 2014 at Nashville's famed Beech House Recording with producer Mark Nevers and a brace of Nashville musicians that includes guitarist William Tyler, steel guitarist Chris Scruggs, bassist Jordan Caress and pianist Tony Crow--along with harmonica virtuoso Pat Bergeson, who adds Pet Sounds-style bass harmonica to the record's "Walk on Back"--Homeseeker's Paradise explores the territory of Joni Mitchell's Hejira. Caroline writes about home, travel, distance and countercultural regret. "Needmore" talks about power politics and cult behavior in the '70s, when Caroline briefly lived in Indiana's Needmore Commune while recording with Bingham and other denizens of the era's Bloomington rock scene. "Walk on Back" takes race relations as its backdrop, but Caroline creates a smooth, ultra-pop song about the lure of travel.

Nevers, who has produced great records by the likes of Bonnie Prince Billy, Lambchop, Silver Jews, William Tyler, Lone Official, Laura Cantrell and Charlie Louvin--among many others--brings the warm sound of his Beech House studio to the record, and Nevers even transferred Caroline's vocals down to old-fashioned tape before doing the final mix. The result is a modernized folk-rock record with Caroline's country-folk-pop-jazz vocal chops present at all times. It's a song album, but Caroline remains one of pop's finest--and most underrated--singers. (Side note: Caroline sings a duet with Bonnie Prince Billy on Bonnie Prince's 2014 Sailor's Grave a Sea of Tongues full-length, which was issued a couple of weeks after Caroline's record. The track is "Quail and Dumplings.")

Homeseeker's Paradise also contains a trio of blues numbers--"Rollin' Chair" is about the manic side of Mississippi, and, by extension, Southern life. The record closes with a gorgeous rendering of the 19th-century hymn, "The Shining Shore," which gets a subtle rearrangement from Caroline and her band.

As Grayson Currin wrote in Pitchfork in 2008 about Caroline's Bar-B-Q Records output, "Caroline Peyton has been about one step from your record collection since 1972, the year she hooked up with a commune-living band of fusion enthusiasts called the Screaming Gypsy Bandits outside of Bloomington, Ind." Homeseeker's Paradise is the next step in the career of this superb singer and songwriter.



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