Vanessa Carlton, who just released a new album called Liberman, recently talked to CBS News about how good friend Stevie Nicks has continued to be an inspiration to her. “Her greatest form of advice is how she lives her life. The way that she looks at her career and looks at her role is so extraordinary because she’s obviously in such a position of power [that] in a sense she’s like a queen, you know? But she is so warm and connected. I just love how she connects all the dots of her life.”
For the first time ever, Stevie Nicks approved of the track order Vanessa Carlton created for an album.
Carlton recently finished recording her fifth full-length studio release and asked her Fleetwood Mac singer pal (and recent wedding officiant) for her input.
“I sent her the album and I think she really digs it,” Carlton told CBS News. “She helps with each record to figure out the order of the songs. For the first time ever, she thought that the order was correct that I gave her, so that was good.”
Recorded in both Nashville, Tenn., and England, the upcoming set, called “Liberman,” comes on the heels of 2011’s “Rabbits on the Run.” It was originally expected out this year, but Carlton had to delay its release to 2015. Though she can’t say why at the moment, she promises it’s a good thing.
One aspect she can talk about is the album itself and why the music has a dream-like quality: “I just really wanted it to feel like…an escape — kind of lush, trippy and beautiful…You really feel like you’re falling into a rabbit hole of sounds. So that’s the kind of record I made. It’s pretty short. It’s 10 songs. It’s meant to be listened through your headphones.”
“The name of the album is ‘Liberman,’ which is my grandfather’s real name before it was changed,” Carlton continued. “I just wanted to go back to the truth. Lee has become my middle name…His name’s Alan Lee…He felt like he needed to change it. He was an artist, he was a painter. He was also a designer of shirts and stuff…He had a really successful company and at the beginning of his company, he didn’t feel like it would do well with a Jewish name like that….It also means my beloved, honorable person — all of those things fall in line to what the music is.”
Although the album title is a personal, the songs Carlton, 33, wrote for the set aren’t necessarily about her life.
“It’s more philosophical. It’s more about the human condition,” Carlton explained. “For instance, one of my favorite songs on the record is the first song — ‘Take It Easy.’…I listen to Bob Marley almost every day, and there’s almost a reggae approach to the lyrics. You hear certain phrases and you actually calm down. You actually chill out. I love that in music. It can almost be hypnotic. There’s definitely stories in it. There’s a song called ‘Willow’ named after the weeping willow tree. There’s a song called ‘The River.’…Nature is a strong theme throughout the album.”
The “A Thousand Miles” singer teamed up with a few different writers and producers for the album, including her new husband, Deer Tick singer-guitarist John McCauley. They worked together on three of the album’s songs — and Carlton says the process was “awesome.”
“It’s so wonderful when you have a really good working relationship with your partner,” said Carlton, who had previously worked with her one-time boyfriend Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind on music. “It’s not always the case…John is so chill. He’s such a natural musician. It was such a pleasure working with him…I had kind of vowed to never work with anyone I was with after years and years ago I did a record with an ex-boyfriend. I was like, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea to ever do that again.’ But this is a different situation. He’s John McCauley. If you can work with John McCauley, you should work with John McCauley.”
Carlton may have a chance to test out her new music very soon. She has an appearance coming up on Saturday in Rockaway, N.Y., as part of the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project, which will host beach volunteer cleanup initiatives at 15 different sites across the country.
“It’s basically a way to get people to help pick up stuff on the beach — particularly at Rockaway because of the damage from Sandy…It’s a wonderful thing,” said Carlton, who will play a 45-minute stripped-down acoustic set at the event.
Carlton, who grew up in Pennsylvania, said she always loved going to the beach whenever she could.
“I’m a beach kid — and my family all the way back to my great grandmother used to go to Rockaway Beach. They’re from Queens and the Long Island area…It’s an event that means a lot to me. Who doesn’t love the beach? And so gross when you’re on a beach and there’s garbage. Everyone wants a beautiful beach.”
Rock gypsy Stevie Nicks is taking her “Gold Dust” solo tour downunder in February, with some special collaborations planned during the two-and-a-half-week trek.
Nicks will kick things off February 18 at Melbourne, Australia’s Rod Laver Arena, where she’ll perform with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in a concert that will be filmed for DVD. Next, she’ll do the first of several dates sharing the bill with popular Aussie rocker John Farnham. The two singers will perform in Brisbane, Perth and three New Zealand venues.
In addition, Vanessa Carlton is on board as a special guest for all shows.
Carlton also toured with Nicks this summer on a five-week North American tour.
Nicks will be accompanied on all dates by her nine-piece band, led by guitarist Waddy Wachtel. Her sets will feature a mix of her hits with Fleetwood Mac and tunes from her lengthy solo career.
Nicks last visited Australia on Fleetwood Mac’s 2004 reunion tour. Her most recent solo album, Trouble In Shangri-La, was released in 2001.
Singer, songwriter, and pianist Vanessa Carlton is slated to be the opening act for Stevie Nicks’ upcoming Gold Dust Tour.
Carlton, a classically-trained pianist, is best known for the ubiquitous radio hit “A Thousand Miles” from her 2002 debut Be Not Nobody.
Carlton befriended Nicks and members of Fleetwood Mac during the band’s 2003-2004 Say You Will Tour, who offered words of encouragement for the young musician. The meeting led to Lindsey Buckingham’s acoustic guitar guest performance on the song “White Houses,” from Carlton’s 2004 release Harmonium. “That all meant so much. I idolize Stevie in so many ways. For them to be so kind to me is very special,” Carlton said in an interview earlier this year.
Before entering the music scene, Carlton was a top student at the School of American Ballet in New York.