Album Review: The Looking

The Looking 1Ever wondered what “Ol’ Man River” would sound like with an overdriven electric guitar? Or what if Pink Floyd had written a lullabye? Apparently Todd Carter has considered such things.

Carter, who records under the pseudonym The Looking, has put together an interesting collection of re-imagined folk standards. “Songs for a Traveler,” released Aug. 19, offers rockish covers from the annals of American music.

The album opens with the age-old lullabye “All the Pretty Horses.” However, Carter ornaments the song with Pink Floyd-esque instrumentation and his operatic voice. “River in the Pines,” made famous by Joan Baez, features duet vocals with Sasha Dobson and full, yet not overbearing, orchestration, complete with strings, keys, and Peter Buck-inspired guitar work.

Other classics like “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Long Black Veil,” and “Blue River,” are mellifluously covered, but it’s Carter’s rendition of “900 Miles” that perfectly captures the sentiments of the album. A plodding bassline – akin to thudding footsteps – and lonesome pedal steel carry Carter’s wistful vocals, singing “If this train runs me right/ I’ll see my woman Saturday night/ cuz I’m 900 miles from my home.”

Carter knows a thing or two about life on the road. The opera-trained multi-instrumentalist grew up in Indiana. After winning a battle of the bands during his senior year at Carmel High School, he decided music was the career for him.

Eventually relocating to New York, Carter is now a successful recording/performing artist. “Songs for a Traveler” is The Looking’s third full length album. By employing styles ranging from classic country music to psychedelic rock to Broadway, Carter has updated these classics, giving them a contemporary feel, and exposing them to a whole new generation of listeners.

“Songs for a Traveler,” and Carter’s other albums, are available on his website, thelooking.com/music.

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