Carleton Stone
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Carleton Stone

Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada | MAJOR

Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada | MAJOR
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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

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"Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel to Toronto, after busy weekend at ECMAs"

Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel has been busy. In the weeks leading up to ECMA it seems the band has been everywhere you looked. They played Thursdays at Governors Pub all through February, had a big show at Smooth Herman’s, an evening at Wentworth Perk and two trips to Halifax to play in the Delta Hotels Battle to Canadian Music Week at the Seahorse Tavern; a battle of the bands for a coveted spot performing at the Enter the Tiki stage during CMW in Toronto—which they won. But it’s all in a month’s work for a band whose stated ambition is to be the biggest band in the world.

And why not? In the year and half since winning a competition at Smooth Herman’s, Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel has recorded a full length album at the award-winning Lakewind Sound Studios; supported acts like Hedley, Matt Mays, and Gordie Sampson; been nominated for two Music Nova Scotia awards and one East Coast Music Award; and are now on their way to Toronto to showcase at the biggest music industry event in the country. But first things first—the ECMA’s this weekend in Sydney where they’re nominated for Sirius Satellite Radio Rock Recording of the Year and will be performing at a couple of showcases.

“This will be our first ECMA weekend as a band so we are going in with no real expectations,” says singer Carleton Stone. “Our hope is to create a good buzz around the band and our performances and take in some of the knowledge offered at the conferences. Our main focus of the weekend is to try and secure some more shows for the coming months, hopefully some festival gigs, as well as add on to the team we are building around ourselves.”

Stone sees events like the ECMA, and the recent Nova Scotia Music Week held in Yarmouth in November, as being important functions of making a name for yourself in the music industry. “As a band we learned a lot of what to do and how to make the best of these showcasing opportunities, so we are hoping to utilize that knowledge to better our ECMA experience.”

All the industry know-how can only get you so far though, and luckily Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel has a sound that backs up their ambition. Their music has been described as having “…the perfect hit-maker balance of passion, originality and relentless live energy, with a complete, super charged E-Street orchestration, yoked to the lyrical wit and conviction of a Ryan Adams or Elvis Costello”. Their self-titled debut album quickly made an impact on listeners after its release, getting rave reviews and frequent plays on CBC Radio locally.

“Reaction to the album has been great!” says Stone. “We have almost sold out our initial run and all the response has been positive.”

Even so, they are an ambitious lot, and in January they were back in the studio working on a new record with award-winning producer Mike “Sheppy” Shepherd.

“We just released an album in the summer,” explains Stone, “but are anxious to put out new material which is more representative of what the band is doing now.”

He says the band is moving towards a more mature, jazz-influenced, country-tinged pop sound since a recent lineup change. Along with Stone on lead vocals and guitars, is John Hatcher (pedal steel, lap steel, electric guitar), Kyle Varley (keyboards, background vocals), Mike Ouelette (electric bass, double bass, background vocals) and Greg Hann (drums and percussion). The lineup change was a result of the band evolving from a more straight-ahead, in your face rock sound, and as players who weren’t able to commit to music full-time were replaced.

“Me and John and Kyle went to high school together and have known and played in various incarnations for years,” he says. “Mike Ouelette was the bass player in my very first band who recently joined the group for the recording of our new record. Greg Hann is a jazz drummer who had crossed paths with everyone in the band and seemed liked a good fit for our project so we brought him on board.”

They are expecting the new record to come out in Summer 2010, with a six song, acoustic EP which videographer Darcy Campbell from Shot On Site Media captured the making of. They are also planning a proper video for the first single from this new release.

But for now, it’s all about business at hand for Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel and that is the East Coast Music Awards.

“ECMAs will be a busy time for us. We have at least three full band shows booked, and four acoustic shows with just me and one of my band mates. We’re hoping to make a lot of great contacts over the weekend to help our band progress to the next level of success.”

On Friday, Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel will be performing at the Official ECMA CBU CD Launch at the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club, ECMA Rock Showcase at Smooth Herman’s, and the Joseph Scott Entertainment Agency Showcase at Governor’s Pub. On Saturday, they’ll be at the Delta Hotel Crown & Moose for the ECMA Music Nova Scotia showcase and the CBMIC Sho - www.whatsgoinon.ca


"Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel – CD Review"

Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel’s debut album sings like a manifesto. Truth. Urgency. Sorrow. Success. The nine songs crescendo like that of a short story and are best listened to all through. Such tight engaging passionate music reveal those thoughts which we didn’t realize existed there just under the surface – bubbling.

“Red Islands” starts things off – with an angry, frustrated exposition. In “Master Builder” torture of the soul is revealed, layered with further frustration with the line, “Got so much to say and no one to say it to.”

In “Kick Drums” the last 30 seconds is one of my favourite tidbits of the album.

“California” takes you to a soulful place of one experiencing disbelief. It hits with a blunt force. The challenge is to listen without letting the warm rain fall on your own face. Perhaps it’s best to just let it happen. The soft piano and lilting female vocals create a mystical quality as you feel yourself being carried away by those wings. Just listen, you’ll know what I mean.

In the final song, “Nobody’s Prisoner”, the angst and confusion of earlier songs melts away into an epiphany of freedom. Dust off the dance shoes and sharpen those pencils. After hearing this song you’ll want to jump into your “to do” list of life with gusto. Building on the previous song, “Ghosts”, that instructed you to “come alive”, this tune dares you to try all those things that may have earned you scoffs from others. Truth oozes out in this song. Along with the fun these guys are having creating this album. “When they tell me I can’t dance, I’m gonna dance anyway. When they tell me I can’t sing, gonna sing karaoke at the Black Diamond.” Just do it, essentially.

The musicianship keeps the record pumping from song to song. The raw lyrics are ripped apart by the steady rhythm and guitar blasts. Produced by Stone and Michael Shepherd of Lakewind Studios, the CD is a must for your collection. Good luck getting it out of your stereo. Enjoy the ride and let it take you where it wants to go. - www.whatsgoinon.ca


"Carleton Stone to take centre stage at Canadian Music Week"

Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel has earned the right to showcase at one of the countrys biggest annual music events.

The five-piece Cape Breton pop-rock group recently came out ahead of 14 other Nova Scotian acts in the Delta Hotels Battle to Canadian Music Week, presented by Molson Canadian. The battle was juried by industry professionals with bands judged on musicianship, stage presence, marketability and overall impact of performance. Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel won their preliminary round Feb. 2 and returned to Halifax the following week where they were declared competition winners, Feb. 9.

The event was presented through a partnership between Delta Hotels, Music Nova Scotia and The Seahorse Tavern, with the winner receiving a coveted showcase on the Music Nova Scotia Stage: Enter the Tiki, taking place as part of Canadian Music Week in Toronto, Ont. from March 10-14. Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel will perform the 11:15 p.m. set on March 13.

The Music Nova Scotia Stage: Enter the Tiki is an industry and public showcase that draws the top international and national music industry professionals each year. The showcase takes place at the legendary Rivoli on Queen Street West in downtown Toronto. Past performers include Wintersleep, Matt Mays, Joel Plaskett, J.P. Cormier, In-Flight Safety, Tom Fun Orchestra, Jenn Grant, Dog Day, Alert The Medic, and Share.

As winners of the competition, Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel also received Canadian Music Week 2010 delegate passes, two nights hotel accommodations at the Delta Chelsea in downtown Toronto and travel assistance. - Cape Breton Post


Discography

Carleton Stone - September 2011 (GroundSwell Music/Warner)
Carleton Stone Drives the Big Wheel - July 2009

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Bio

Carleton Stone is one to watch.

The charismatic young performer and soulful songwriter from Cape Breton honed his reputation in Maritime indie clubs. Now he’s set to take the next big step with the release of his self-titled album, produced by Juno Award-winning Hawsley Workman (Tegan and Sara, Hey Rosetta!, and Great Big Sea).

The 11 tracks sparkle with contemporary smart-pop energy, clever hooks and the infectious exuberance of a songwriter with his eye firmly on the prize.

Carleton teamed up with some of Canada’s most promising young writers to pen tunes for the album, including Hawksley, Emma-Lee, Morgan Cameron Ross, Ian Sherwood, Molly Thomason and Jamie Robinson.

The creative energy was undeniable. “I’ve always written songs since I was a kid,” says Carleton. “ But the co-writing put a real spark back into the creative process for me… the light just went on.”

The new album, to be released on GroundSwell Music, was recorded at Blue Rodeo’s Woodshed Studio with some of Toronto’s A-list musicians.

Drawing on Carleton’s sweeping influences, the songs move from the cheeky guitar-driven pop-rock of Sheets to country-inspired Million Dollar Heart, co-written with Workman. There’s gospel-influenced R&B, happy retro-pop, and even some radio-ready edgy rock.

All in all, this album is a vibrant, superbly crafted collection of songs and a solid label debut for Carleton Stone.