Today I bring an introduction, live show experience, and music review of a multi-talented artist whose musical stylings I find lush, fresh and authentic.
I discovered the wonders of Reeve Carney for myself when I finally gave way to my fears and took a peek at the widely successful Showtime television series Penny Dreadful. I found Reeve’s portrayal of the immortal hedonist Dorian Gray extremely spot on, which is saying a lot considering my affinity for the character (check out my much earlier article, The Confessions of Dorian Gray – This World Our Hell.)
As soon as I began Penny Dreadful, I knew I was hooked. So I then proceeded to do what I usually do, which is head over to IMDB to find out more about the actors and the series. Upon reviewing Reeve’s IMDB profile, I was struck to find that along with being an accomplished actor, he was a proficiently studied musician who not only had performed and recorded with his own bands Carney and Reeve Carney and The Revolving Band, but had also headlined as Peter Parker in Broadway’s critically acclaimed musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, where he worked with U2’s Bono and The Edge. Hmm. So apparently, I’ve been living under a rock.
Intrigued, I began digging into basically everything I could find covering Reeve’s work. I soon discovered he was undergoing a solo music project and the development was fascinating. He was striving to bring to life his heart’s voice, making musical choices that resonated specifically for himself. I recognized it as a true labor of love.
Reeve’s first solo album, Youth is Wasted, has been a long time coming. After three years of Spider-Man in New York and then three seasons filming on the Emerald Isle of Ireland for Penny Dreadful, Reeve’s music continued to be an ongoing process throughout this time. Due to his very busy acting schedule, it was difficult to pencil in time to work with other musicians as well as find available studio time. So Reeve found himself living as a night owl where his music was concerned, constructing piece by piece, each instrument and layer of vocals, the sounds that he alone created. Sounds he initially recorded in a studio which he built himself in his New York apartment. That more than enough validates the labor and the love.
Now, after all this time, his project has come to fruition. In anticipation of his album release, Reeve embarked on a US Summer Tour these past few months, playing venues as a solo artist and sharing live performances of his vision. Much like his approach to this entire project, just him and his instruments. When the opportunity came to be able to hear him perform live in concert, I knew I had to be there.
I met Reeve at his Seattle show. Struck by his genuine affability, I had a feeling this musical experience would be one of not only talented musicianship, but of honest emotion and heartfelt lyrics. His opening song was titled Happiness, and that word was the epitome of what continued for me throughout the show. Each song became a new experience, delving deeper into guitar riffs, keyboard crescendos, and ethereal vocals which then sometimes led into smoky or guttural runs. A tad bit of whimsy was also thrown into the mix as he amazed us all with his talent to produce a kazoo with his mouth from his microphone stand while continuing to play guitar. Another time he reached for a violin bow and created an interesting new vibration to give his music another unique touch.
Interesting tidbit… Did I mention Reeve likes vintage? His keyboard was actually used by The Beatles to record one of their albums. And of course, no music lover can share a love of vintage without having a special place in their hearts for vinyl. In anticipation of his album, Reeve produced three 45 rpms that he made available for the tour. A little album sneak peek as well as an autographed keepsake.
The show ended on a high note as people scurried around to make sure they obtained all the merchandise they had set out to purchase, while Reeve was genuinely happy to autograph and take photos. There really is nothing like a live music venue experience.
When October rolled around and the time finally arrived for Reeve’s album to drop, he surprised everyone by releasing it a week earlier than it’s scheduled date. The release has been met with enthusiastic reviews and swift purchases, of which I heartily joined in! Hearing songs from the earlier live show now presented with layers of Reeve’s voice overlapping multiple instruments, it gives us the true picture of his vision in it’s fullness. With subtle hints of The Beatles, Prince and even some raucous Blues, Reeve’s album runs the gamut with a variety of styles, all the while tying them together with a signature touch that is uniquely attributed to Reeve. The 15 track album is well worth the price for it’s fresh discernment and soulful content. The album is available on iTunes where you may sample each of the tracks. Both Father’s House and Up Above the Weather from the videos shared here are included on the album.
If you are in the Los Angeles area, Reeve will be having an ALBUM RELEASE PARTY at Molly Malones on Monday, October 24. There are still a few limited tickets available. This is also the kick off to his new US FALL TOUR. Dates and tickets are available through his website. If you are looking for some amazing live music, make sure to hit up one of his shows!
One more thing… This week was another milestone for Reeve as The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Timewarp Again premiered on Fox Network. Somewhere midst his busy schedule he managed to embody the character of Riff Raff and record on the soundtrack. All the amazing sounds are also now available on iTunes!